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Andrea's column: In praise of Howard Stern

Lying in bed, hoping to feel better soon but fearing the angel of death is lurking right outside my door, is not fun place. I have suffered with the virus from h-e-l-l for over two weeks. Instead of going away, it appears the nasty thing invited a sinus infection to join forces.

The only options when someone is this sick are to sleep or watch TV. A person can only snooze so much and unless you care about the Kardashians, are into rerun marathons of NCIS or want to watch some woman named Tabitha clean up messes in hair salons, there is little on the tube to make you feel better.

That is why I was happy to discover season seven of America's Got Talent. I am ready for people who sing, dance and perform magic tricks.

I had watched "AGT" a number of years ago; after Susan Boyle wowed the world on the British version. I wanted to get in on the ground floor of another winner. No one stood out during the few shows I watched and pompous judge Piers Morgan, and his idiot cohort, David Hasselhoff, drove me crazy.

"AGT" is a production in which contestants vie for a chance to move on from the city where they first audition (New York, Tampa, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, to name some) to the next round in Las Vegas. All hope to win the million dollar prize. Contestants are greeted in the wings by host Nick Cannon, who wishes them luck and sends them onstage.

There is a huge audience that is animated, opinionated and heavily involved in the show. Three judges sit at the front of the audience. Each gets a vote and if two vote "no," a contestant does not move forward.

What caused me to take a look at the show this year is that judges Morgan and Hasselhoff are gone. Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel are left and radio shock jock Howard Stern has joined them. "This should be interesting," I thought.

I don't listen to Howard Stern. Not because he is crass or shocking but because I don't listen to the radio. I did see Private Parts, though, the autobiographical movie about his struggle to make it, so I know a bit about his sweet side.

That sweet side was evident when Stern went onstage to console a 7-year-old rapper whose performance had been stopped by the judges. The boy was brought to tears after Stern's comment that he was a brave boy. Stern said afterwards, "I'm not cut out for this ... I'm shaking ... I can't do it." He added, "Radio is for me. I made a mistake."

Another night, when Stern's parents were just behind him in the audience, he asked his 89-year-old father to go onstage to give career advice to a young song and dance man who had been voted off.

Indicating the man would go nowhere in the entertainment business, the senior Stern told him, "Think this over carefully. You have to make a living." With Howard's prodding, he offered the advice he had often given his son, "Don't be stupid, you moron."

I would like to repeat that to Howard Stern. Just because his placating words brought on a little boy's tears, he should not leave this show. Just watching him makes me feel a little better.