America's Got Talent has officially named the next guest judge for the series. Since Simon Cowell is not able to appear on AGT's live shows due to a back injury that he recently sustained, the show has tapped Kenan Thompson to fill in for him. The Voice coach Kelly Clarkson previously filled in for Cowell for AGT's first two live episodes of the season on Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to Variety, Thompson will fill in for Cowell for the upcoming live telecasts of the show, which will air on Tuesday and Wednesday. He will join the already-established judging panel of Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Sofia Vergara. It's unclear when Cowell will be able to return to the show, according to sources close to AGT. On Twitter, Thompson acknowledged this news by writing that he couldn't wait to bring his own talents to the NBC competition series.
As previously mentioned, Cowell has been forced to miss out on several live tapings of AGT due to a back injury that he sustained while riding a new electric bike. He broke his back in a number of places and had to undergo a five-hour-long surgery that involved doctors placing a metal rod into his back and implementing a number of fusions. On Saturday, PEOPLE reported that Cowell was recovering at home one week after this ordeal. A source told the outlet that the judge is "very happy to be back home with his family in the fresh sea air" in Malibu, California. They added, "He's been doing some work already this week but he also knows he needs to give his back time to heal properly from the surgery."
While Cowell is reportedly recovering well after this incident, it's unclear when or if he will be able to return to AGT before the current season ends. Although, his fellow AGT judges do have high hopes that he will be able to make it back to the series before Season 15 comes to an end. "We have been told he has been recovering tremendously," Mandel told Entertainment Tonight. "I would not count him out before the end of this season." He added, "He's had a six-hour operation, and he is already on his feet, which is above and beyond expectation, so I am thrilled. I love the guy, I miss the guy, and my hearts and minds are with him and each and every moment."