Howie Mandel wears a black leather jacket and points on the red carpet

Howie Mandel’s comments towards a contestant during the semi-finals on America’s Got Talent have resulted in a wave of backlash. Surprisingly, one of Mandel’s biggest critics was none other than notoriously tough judge Simon Cowell. Fans of the contestant in question, YouTuber Madilyn Bailey, also took to Twitter to fervently protest their favorite’s treatment by the longtime judge.

‘America’s Got Talent’ Judge Howie Mandel Faces Backlash

Madilyn Bailey barely made it to the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent after she gave a disappointing rendition of Sia’s “Titanium” during the quarterfinals, but after her fans rallied behind her, the YouTuber, who boasts about 8.5 million followers, managed to squeak through to the next round. A singer/songwriter, Bailey decided to go back to her roots and perform an original song this time around, which was dedicated to her late grandmother. 

Harsh Words For Madilyn Bailey

Though many fans online said they were moved to tears during the emotional performance, one person who definitely wasn’t touched was Howie Mandel. The former host of Deal Or No Deal didn’t hold back when it came his time to give the singer feedback. “OK, Madilyn, listen. You’re very good, that was kind of touching. I’m going to be totally honest, you’re a very lucky girl that I think – lady, woman, person – that America is voting and not for me. I didn’t think that was anything.” 

As Mandel wrapped up his commentary, boos from the audience began to sound, nearly drowning him out. He concluded, “I think you’re a good singer. I responded to you. I’m incredibly disappointed. I responded to you in your audition, when you sang those mean tweets. I thought that was quirky, funny, inventive. And now, I don’t think this was anything, to be honest with you.” It wasn’t just the audience that disagreed with Mandel’s take. 

A Surprising Defense From Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell may be known as a tough guy when it comes to disappointing performances, but this time around it wasn’t the contestant that he blasted. “Am I allowed to say ‘ass’ on American TV?” the former American Idol hardliner asked, a bit late and redundantly. However, he received confirmation that he could and quickly continued, “OK, good, because Howie, you’re talking out of it.” 

Cowell addressed his next comments to Bailey, telling the 28-year-old, 

 “Madilyn, good for you, because that’s exactly what you want people to do in a semifinal – be true to who you are.” He added that she took Mandel’s criticism this night and all critiques throughout the competition “so well and so graciously.” 

He concluded, “I’m so proud of you. I have so much respect for you. Do not listen to a single word Howie Mandel said.” Fans echoed his sentiment online, with many taking to Twitter to not only blast Mandel’s commentary, but to offer Bailey their support. 

Fans Flock To Twitter To Show Their Displeasure

For her part, Bailey appeared to be letting the negative critiques roll off her back. She tweeted about the exchange several times, sometimes playfully and sometimes with a deep well of gratitude for all the people who helped her get to this point in the competition. 

The results of the show will be airing tonight, so we won’t know Bailey’s future with the competition for sure until they’re announced this evening. She’s worked hard to get where she is, but it’s up to America to decide if she’s got what it takes to get to the next stage in the competition. 

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