(KGET) — Terry Crews is an actor, athlete, musician, furniture designer, artist and the current host of the NBC reality competition series “America’s Got Talent.” The one thing this Renaissance man brings to all of his artistic outlets is an unbridled passion that is driven by both his heart and his head.
All you have to do is look at the last two acts on “AGT” that earned the Golden Buzzer – a fast track to the finals – from Crews to know he is moved both intellectually and emotionally when making his big decisions.
Last year he found a deeply emotional connection to the Voices of Our City Choir, a group that provides assistance to the homeless in San Diego. His heart moved him to honor the group.
He gave this year’s Golden Buzzer to a World Taekwondo, a group of athletes who demonstrate their physics-defying martial art skills. The team was scheduled to perform at this year’s Summer Olympics in Japan but that was nixed due to COVID restrictions. His head told him this was the right group to be honored this year.
“The story was courage. For me, it is about the risk. What chance did you take? It is a big deal when you make it to the stage. The bigger the deal, the more it moves me,” Crews says. “When I saw the Voices of Our City Choir, made up from people living in homeless shelters, who decided to do something creative on their own volition, I said ‘how much courage does that take?’
“Because they did that, I had to give them the next step.”
Crews has had the opportunity to help those with big dreams since taking over the hosting duties of the series that airs Tuesday nights on NBC. This year’s filming of “AGT” has been particularly enjoyable for Crews because the restrictions as to having a studio audience have been lifted.
He’s also happy the full slate of judges are in their seasons with the return of Simon Cowell to join Howie Mandel, Sofia Vergara and Heidi Klum. The team will again be looking to find an act worth of the $1 million prize.
This is the third season of Crews hosting “America’s Got Talent” after two seasons as host of the spinoff series “America’s Got Talent: Champions.” He has happily embraced being the relentless energy that keeps the show moving and being the cheerleader for contestants before they face the judges.
The toughest part of the job is facing the contestants who do not advance. Crews compares what the “AGT” hopefuls go through to an Olympian who will train for years for a one-minute opportunity to come out on top.
“I do get my heart broke,” Crews says. “When the judges say nope, nope, you can see it in their eyes.”
He knows that feeling because of the paths he has followed in his life. Crews saw a career in sports end only to go into the world of acting where rejection is more common than acceptance. That’s why he relates so deeply with those who don’t get enough yes votes to keep competing.
The philosophy Crews lives by is that if something is not worth causing a person great pain when there is rejection, it wasn’t worth doing.
“Ralph Waldo Emerson has one of the greatest quotes ever,” Crews says. “It is ‘God will not have his work made manifest by cowards.’ I have that up in my gym. I have that up in my office,” Crews says. “That kind of courage is what changes the world.
“If you really want to make an impact, you just have to face it. You have to face the rejection.”
The way Crews has dealt with his own rejection is to go home, wipe away the tears and then wake up the next morning ready to try again. His words to those who don’t make the cut is to decide if it is worth trying again. He has a deep admiration for those who don’t give up on their dream.
The deep compassion Crews has isn’t confined to “American’s Got Talent.” When he is not hosting the show or working on the final season of the NBC comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” where he plays Lt. Terry Jeffords, Crews works with the non-profit organization the Polaris Project, a leading organization in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery. His work with the group earned him the United Nations Global Generation Award.
The “America’s Got Talent” hosting job is the latest outlet for Crews to show his acting skills after a career in professional football. His film roles include “The Willoughby’s,” “Sorry to Bother You,” “Deadpool 2,” “White Chicks,” “Idiocracy,” “The Expendables” franchise and several popular Adam Sandler films, including “Blended” and “The Longest Yard.”
“America’s Got Talent” airs 8 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC.