EXCLUSIVE: Simon Cowell admits he was shocked when Nick Cannon quit 'AGT,' talks new host Tyra Banks


Although the America's Got Talent judges are sad to see Nick Cannon go, they're definitely welcoming new host Tyra Banks with open arms.

ET spoke with judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum as well as Banks on Monday, when they candidly talked about the transition. Cowell, in particular, admits he was shocked when Cannon announced he wouldn't be returning to the hit NBC show.

"I didn't know much about it -- maybe I should have known more about it," Cowell told ET's Denny Directo. "I mean, look, the point is that he was the first to send me a bottle of champagne on the first day [as a] congratulations, which interestingly, he didn't send to the others."

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"I didn't know that Nick wasn't going to be on the show until about two or three weeks before we started filming, and no one told me about this stuff," he recalled. "Anyway, it happened. I spoke to him, I thought he was going to come back but he wasn't -- then he was, wasn't -- and then in the end, we decided to start filming without him. After one day, we get a phone call -- Tyra Banks wants to meet. I thought I was being wound up to be honest with you."

Still, Cowell has the utmost faith in Banks.

"The hardest thing is when you're trying to replace someone who has been really good, and you don't want someone who's going to be the same kind of personality," he explained. "I mean, look, she's funny, she gets it. From what I've seen so far, I think she is having a good time."

"She's a little bit traumatized," he joked.

See Tyra Banks' wildest fashion moments:

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 29: Supermodel Tyra Banks arrives at the CBS/CW/Showtime Television Critic Association's summer press tour party at 9900 Wilshire Blvd on July 29, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 26: TV Personality/Model Tyra Banks attends The Paley Center For Media's Tribute To African American Achievements In Television at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on October 26, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 12: Tyra Banks attends the 22nd annual Glamour Women of the Year Awards at Carnegie Hall on November 12, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for Glamour Magazine)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 04: Tyra Banks arrives at Disney ABC Television Group's 2015 TCA Summer Press Tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 4, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 24: TV personality Tyra Banks leaves the 'Good Afternoon America' taping at the ABC Times Square Studios on August 24, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/Getty Images)
Tyra Banks visits the New York Stock Exchange on March 15, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by: Charles Eshelman via Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - JULY 28: TV Personality Tyra Banks attends 'America's Next Top Model' Cycle 22 premiere party at Greystone Manor on July 28, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vincent Sandoval/WireImage)
TV personality Tyra Banks signs copies of her new book 'Modelland' at Barnes & Noble 3rd Street Promenade on September 14, 2011 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by: Tommaso Boddi via Getty Images)
BURBANK, CA - APRIL 26: Model Tyra Banks arrives at the 42nd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on April 26, 2015 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 30: TV personality Tyra Banks arrives at the 36th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards at The Orpheum Theatre on August 30, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/DE/Getty Images for ATI)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 20: Supermodel Tyra Banks attends the premiere party for Cycle 21 of 'America's Next Top Model' presented by NYLON magazine and the LINE messaging app at SupperClub Los Angeles on August 20, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)
WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE -- Pictured: Tyra Banks -- (Photo by: Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Tyra Banks attends the 4th Annual WIE Symposium at Center 548 on September 21, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 14: Tyra Banks arrives at the NBC And Time Inc. 50th Anniversary Celebration Of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Hosted By Heidi Klum at Dolby Theatre on January 14, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 15: Tyra Banks attends the Endometriosis Foundation of America's 4th annual Blossom Ball at The New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on March 15, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
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Meanwhile, Mandel, who called Banks the "consummate professional," said he's spoken to Cannon since his exit.

"He's holding up great, he is so excited, he's doing a lot," Mandel said. "He's really creating a lot on digital and on his own. He's got tons of businesses. I don't know where this guy gets all this energy, but he is a warrior. He's creative, he's made his own decisions."

He also supports Cannon's choice to leave 100 percent.

"I was heartbroken that I'm not getting a chance to work with him right now," he continued. "I hope I get to work with him again in the future, but you know, God bless him that he is out there and doing what he wants. Life is short, do what you need to do."

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As for Klum, she's ecstatic to be working with her fellow Victoria's Secret Angel again.

"Yes, we have Tyra Banks in the house," she said excitedly. "She's our new host, which is fabulous, because girls rule. Now we're three girls against two boys, which is fabulous. It's a lot of fun. It's definitely different to see her come onto the stage. We're used to seeing Nick coming onto the stage, but I have to say, she fit right in there, you know."

"But also, it's because the team is really amazing," she added. "We are like a family, and so everyone is very welcoming and she just really fit right in."

Banks admitted that her new schedule is "intense," and also made it clear that there's no hard feelings between her and Cannon.

"Nick sent me flowers, [which is] very, very sweet," she said.

America's Got Talent returns May 30 on NBC.

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