I posted this as a comment in another thread, but a user said to make a seperate thread, so here it is. Apologies for any noobishness
The third day of tapings was absolutely cancelled.
I went to the noon taping on Tuesday. At the beginning of the taping, the warm up guy was talking about the crew going out that night to the French Quarter to celebrate the end of the tapings. Ronnie tweeted that they were back in NYC at 3am EST I think? So HS and crew must have booked it to the private jet right after the last taping ended (it's a 4-5 hour flight because of the time change, and it probably ended around 9CST).
Here is my takeaway/experience:
The arena was about 2/3 empty, maybe 3000 people MAX. The top third was completely blocked off, and one entire side was totally empty. The pit near the stage/near the judges was filled with people, and the arena seating facing the stage was filled. However, this whole section was filled with HIGH SCHOOL students that were given the day off and bussed in. There were 4 or 5 different schools there, and tons of buses outside. The pit was also mostly groups from schools and groups of tourists.
When I got there, had to pay $10 for parking (wtf). They filmed fake crowd shots outside of a fake parade and fake red carpet arrival (Howard didn't take part in any of this). There were barely 100 people outside for any of this, and they had to keep rearranging the crowd for re-shoots to make it look more busy. Howie Mandel came down the fake red carpet on a tiny car. They had to re-shoot it about 5 times, with the cameraman eventually going into the tiny crowd to shoot from above, and then swearing and saying they had to give up the shot because it looked like shit/empty.
During the taping, out of all the judges and all the happenings, Nick Cannon got the hugest response. Probably because of all the high school kids.
A few people did "baba booeys" and someone said "sauce on side" but Howard barely reacted. There were two old ladies who yelled out "I love you Howard" a few times, and someone in the pit had a huge THSS related sign. Howard signed someone's copy of Private Parts at one point (someone sitting in the pit near the judges, I was seated way up in the rafters). Ronnie was sitting about three feet from HS for the entire thing, and during the breaks/between acts he stood up and "guarded" HS while doing that "Ronald pose" where he pretends to be a bodyman. Ralph was also very visible in the pit seating, about one section over from Ronnie. Ralph's goofy walk and terrible posture are more horrifying in person, and this was from like 300 feet away.
There were only 9 acts, none of which were great. One terrible dog act, cute boring little kids doing ballroom dancing, a dance crew, two joke/fake acts, two mediocre singers, a boring acrobat, and a good local band (which the judges trashed and called a "bar band"). Only two of the acts were local. Both of the bad acts were from far away, as well as one of the better acts was from LA, so a lot of it seems organized by producers and they're all flown in to get a certain ratio of bad/good in each city or make it look organic. The warm-up guy said the first day of tapings was rough and the acts were worse, so I can only imagine.
Howard and his comments got booed A LOT. At one point he made a "joke" that when he "makes love" to his wife she says she feels like there's a praying mantis on top of her. No one laughed.
At one point he and Heidi got up and did some kind of salsa dancing together on the judge platform. Howard was doing the usual fake jokey dancing he does, and the other two judges Xed them and people booed.
At a couple different tense moments producers came over and told HS and Heidi what to say to create more drama and drag out the segments. Also the audio engineering was hahhhhrible, you could barely hear anything the judges said, and a few times HS got booed because people misheard him.
People started filing out when there was about 1 hour left to avoid traffic.
Mostly the whole thing was just lame and cheap. I lived in NYC for years, so I've been on movie/TV sets and been to show tapings etc, and all that usually has some air of excitement or frenzy, beyond what gets manufactured and "sweetened" for air. This felt more like a school talent show or something on basic cable. Definitely not an NBC show with celebrity judges getting paid millions of dollars.
When I first heard about the tapings I was surprised they weren't at the convention center or Super Dome since they're in downtown New Orleans, very cosmopolitan area, tons of tourists, etc. UNO Lakefront is on the edge of the city in Gentilly which was badly damaged during Katrina and still recovering (bunch of condemned and abandoned houses on the main road leading up to the arena). But now that I see how little interest there was, I get it.
Pictures from inside the arena, sorry if they are too big or too small
I can't think of anything else worth reporting really. Glad to answer any questions