Keep calm and carry on — America's Got Talent is doing just that. 

Season 15 of the competition show is well on its way even amid the pandemic. Judge Howie Mandel told Cheddar on Thursday that it is "different and wonderful" to be back on set in the age of social distancing. 

Auditions were filmed in front of a live audience in Pasadena, California earlier in the year before health and safety guidelines forced the show to eliminate the in-person viewing altogether. Ultimately, the show arranged for fans to watch live — all logged on from home. 

"When this virtual audience came to be, it felt like, 'Oh, we're home,'" Mandel said.

Like sports and even recent award shows, the crowd has had to watch from their couches and Mandel admits he misses the influence and energy of the live, in-person audience. "Talent is subjective," he said. Even if he is not inherently a fan of someone's specific talent, "if the audience is just blown away by something, that does influence me. I go, 'Listen, this is not my cup of tea. but I can tell there is a huge market for this, you are obviously very talented, and everybody is on their feet.'"

AGT is doing its part to make sure everyone is safe and that production moves on smoothly in this new environment. Judges are social distancing on set and they are getting tested every other day. Mandel reveals that the closest he's been to another person on set is 10 feet. 

Mandel, who has been open about his fear of germs in the past said the coronavirus pandemic has been particularly hard.  "This is my nightmare," he said. 

"Social distancing is something that I've been living with for the last 64 years and now the world is caught up to me," Mandel continued. Maybe these new habits of wearing masks and washing our hands a little extra are here to stay. 

"If anybody aside from Terry [Crews], Sofia [Vergara], or Heidi [Klum] has any interaction with us, they have to approach us with face masks, and gloves, and goggles," Mandel said. "It's like working on Mars."

Judge and executive producer Simon Cowell missed part of the season while recovering from a back injury, so singer Kelly Clarkson and Saturday Night Live stalwart Kenan Thompson have filled in for him on the judging panel. 

One thing hasn't changed in the latest season of the show: there is no shortage of talent. Five finalists have already been selected for the last stage of the 2020 season. 

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