Shock jock Howard Stern finally made his debut as a co-judge of the NBC reality show "America's Got Talent" on Monday and showcased the blunt, somewhat perverted sense of humor fans of his X-rated radio show know him to possess - but with a lot of heart. And hugs.
The season 7 premiere earned a 3.6 rating among adults aged 18 to 49 and was watched by about 10.3 million people - down from a 4.3 rating and 15.2 million from the summer 2011 premiere.
"I think 'America's Got Talent' is going to build as the weeks go by," Stern, 58, said on his Sirius XM satellite radio show on Tuesday, May 15, adding that he and co-judges Howie Mandel and Sharon Osbourne will be harsher on contestants after the show reaches the more advanced stage of the competition, set in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, check out Howard Stern's 9 best moments from his debut on "America's Got Talent."
1. Where there's Howard Stern, there are penis jokes.
A man who initially identified himself as a magician took a ring from Mandel, who famously suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder and hates touching others, and performed a stripper routine that ended with him bearing his chest. The co-judge's ring was shown hanging on a strand attached to one of the man's nipple rings.
"I had a lot of hope for you," Stern said. "I was really rooting for you. I wanted to see some magic and all I saw is a guy with his pants off and a rather small package, quite frankly. Don't feel bad, I'm in the same boat, my friend,"
The shock jock has often joked about his own sex life and attributes on his radio show.
"As a stripper, you can't have man boobs, you understand?" Stern added. "You can't. I have them. But I'm not a stripper. And as a magician, it didn't work for me."
2. Howard Stern also mocks his looks.
A 32-year-old man named Ben Black with a Tom Cruise hairstyle (long and floppy, like even numbers of "Mission Impossible" movies) showcased a crossbow routine with his female friend.
Stern, who is tall, curly-haired and wears tinted glasses, told him: "First of all, I wish I looked like you. God punished me with this face and you've got my face."
3. Where there's Howard Stern, there are sexual references.
Stern, who has often bragged on his radio show about finally being a "judge," joked on the premiere of "America's Got Talent: "Having the X is a lot of power. I like it. I like hitting it, I like massaging it."
4. "Home Alone 2" inspiration?
A woman appeared wearing about a dozen cockatiels on her shoulders, saying she is known as the "bird lady" in Los Angeles. Her pets, she said, even eat out of her mouth and also defecate on her shirts.
Stern took the opportunity to inquire about her dietary habits.
"If you were on an island and all you had were your birds, would you eat them?" he asked. She said she would not.
"You'd rather die than eat your own birds?" Stern asked. "I admire that. I love it."
She sang "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," a 1939 song made famous by Frank Sinatra in 1962" as her birds perched patiently in place.
Stern was the first one who gave her the "X" to boot her off the show. Mandel thought she should be passed. Sharon Osbourne agreed with Stern.
5. Howard Stern gives deadpan response.
After a man butchered the Michael Jackson song "Got To be There," Stern asked: "Has someone in your life said to you, 'You know, maybe this isn't for you?' Has a parent-"
"No, my parents are dead," the man answered.
"And uh, they died of embarrassment?" Stern asked.
6. The King of All Media debuts famous catchphrase, acts sexist and introduces the Prince of Darkness.
"Hey now," Stern said as a blonde girl in pink hot pants and a ukulele appeared on stage, echoing his trademark radio show greeting, often repeated by fans.
After a lackluster performance, Stern joked: "Why did [former co-judge] Piers Morgan give up this job? First of all I think you are a magnificent-looking woman. Fatherly advice - marry a rich guy. Sharon did it, it worked out fantastic. You need an Ozzy, something like that."
Cue a shot of Ozzy Osbourne sitting in the audience.
7. Howard Stern is a softie when it comes to his dad.
You may remember musical father-daughter duo Jorge and Alexa Narvaez, who are 25 and 7 years old, performing "Feliz Navidad" in a Hyundai commercial that ran during the 2011 Christmas season. On "America's Got Talent," the two performed an acoustic performance of the song "Home" by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.
"For me it was like, wow Jorge, I wish you were my dad," Stern said.
"What happened to your dad?" Alexa Narvaez asked.
"My dad? You don't wanna know. You know my dad never wanted to play guitar with me?" replied Stern, who has often mimicked and shared childhood stories about his surly father on his radio show.
"Aw, I hope you don't cry," she replied.
Stern said the moment marked "the most touching" one for him on the show so far.
8. Howard Stern is grossed out, for once.
A 35-year-old Chicago stay-at-home dad - who brought his baby - turned his face into a pin cushion, inserting metal pokers through his cheeks and opening his mouth to reveal them sticking out of his mouth.
"Wow, I actually want to thank you, because you remind me of why I don't like people," Stern said.
9. Howard Stern hugs a patriot.
A 47-year-old man with a foreign accent, who works as a waiter and goes by the stage name "Simply Sergio," was first shown arriving at the audition with an American flag. He underwhelmed with a performance of Frank Sinatra's "The Girl From Ipanema."
"Well that was dreadful, of course." Stern said, frowning. "You know that, don't you? You know, you're a nice enough guy, I don't know what you're doing here."
The man then belted out a soaring rendition of "God Bless America," earning cheers. Stern then walked up to hug the man.
"Thank you, sir, for giving me a second chance," "Simply Sergio" told the co-judge. "God bless."
"He's shaking," Stern said to Mandel. "Wait a second, he's sweating on my hand."
The judges put the man through to the next round, spurring him and Stern to jump up and down together on stage like Larry and Balki from "Perfect Strangers."
John Stamos was photographed in the audience, cheering on his buddy Stern. He sat with the shock jock's wife, Beth Ostrosky. The popular "Full House" actor attended their 2008 wedding.
"He's always been so good to me," Stamos Tweeted.