Mel B on her scary reputation and the international appeal of 'America's Got Talent'

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Image Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Shouldn’t a show about finding the best talent in the United States have an all-American judging panel?  Not really, says Mel B., who returns Tuesday for her second year on America’s Got Talent. (NBC’s talent competition is currently in its ninth season.) According to the Spice Girl, the show’s internationally-seasoned experts — who mostly hail from outside the U.S. — actually give AGT a much more comprehensive outlook.

“Well, I think between the four of us, you have the entire world covered,” Mel told EW of working with Heidi Klum and two guys named Howard (Stern and Mandel, of course). “You got Heidi, who is an international supermodel. She’s traveled, she knows her fashion, she knows about entertainment. You know me, who’s also traveled the world with the Spice Girls. I had my own show in Vegas; I’ve done Broadway. Then you got Howie, who is an amazing comedian from Canada, and Howard Stern, [American] radio jockey for God knows how long. I think between the four of us, we got this.”

Last season, performance artist and dancer Kenichi Ebina from Japan won the competition — so despite the title, the show has always had a global flavor. Part of AGT‘s appeal for entertainers and audience alike is that the show isn’t just a standard singing competition: What other reality show can list an opera singer, a father/son dog act, and a ventriloquist all as former winners? This season, Mel B seems most excited about the fun and magic in store. “There are many different acts that I like to watch during the audition season and during the live shows,” Mel says. “This year, I’m leaning more towards the magicians, cause they’re young, they’re very current and they are making magic seem like real magic.”

The British beauty is no stranger to making magic herself while onstage with the Spice Girls — and this year marks the girl group’s 20th anniversary. “It’s funny; there have been a few Spice themed segments in the auditions, and it always makes me go ‘Awww, I miss my girls,'” she says.

Mel isn’t alone. While promoting The Amazing Spider-man 2, Emma Stone publicly displayed her love for all things Spicey, even dissolving into tears several times. “I love Emma Stone, and who knew she was such a huge Spice Girls fan?” says Mel. “I’m actually a fan of hers, so to know that she is a fan of ours is, like, harmonious.” As for the nickname that will never leave her, Mel B insists she really isn’t someone to be feared: “The scariest thing about me, I think, is probably that I’m unpredictable. You don’t know what you’re gonna get and when you’re gonna get it!”

When it comes to her current job, Mel couldn’t be happier. “I had so much fun doing it [last season], just sitting there with the judges act after act, not knowing what act you were actually going to be witnessing, ” Mel tells EW. “It made me think, you know what? If I’m offered this again, I’m for sure coming back. And here I am! Season 9 is underway!”

America’s Got Talent premieres Tuesday on NBC at 8 p.m. ET.

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