One of the things that makes this iteration of “AGT” so much fun is just how big some of these acts can go. We know we’ve gone outside before on the parent series but filming entirely outside has really pushed the stakes, allowing for elaborate set builds and terrifying stunts.
That definitely came true with the surprising return of a familiar contestant in Alfredo Silva, best known to “AGT” fans as one half of the knife-throwing danger act Deadly Games. Well, he traded in the knives -- and his partner -- for something entirely different, a whole lot more dangerous and far more deadly than the games he used to play.
The night also brought a 90-year-old dirt bike daredevil grandmother, and that is not an exaggeration. She is absolutely adorable, and crushing hard on Simon. Too bad her hug didn’t lift his spirits, as he was harsh on several acts across the evening.
Honestly, though, we were kind of with him. Travis and Nikki were judging largely based on the technical difficulty and danger of the acts, but Simon was looking at things more from a showmanship perspective. It’s only half of the package to be technically proficient. The act has to move the audience, as well.
There was plenty of that, as we found ourselves holding our breath, clutching the edge of our seats and gasping audibly several times. “AGT” has had danger acts for years, but they’ve rarely risen to this level. And now we’re guaranteed a danger act winning “AGT,” which is pretty cool in itself.
Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Nikki Bella, Travis Pastrana, and Simon Cowell. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe.
And just for fun, I'm gonna rank them from worst to first to see how my favorites do and then we can see how you did -- i.e., if you agreed with me.
(motorcycle smash through 5 walls of fire) Hunter is a young guy and a professional stunt performer. His grandmother is 90 years old, but she’s part of his act! The adorable nonagenarian from Denmark said she was tired of watching the excitement and wanted to be part of it, and who could say no to that? Grandma was powered by a hug from Simon ahead of a stunt made more dangerous due to rainy conditions battling against the wheels on Hunter’s dirt bike. It turned out to be a smooth, straight ride with clean breaks across all five walls Nevertheless, we’re talking fire and impact and rain, so there was definitely a lot of skill on Hunter’s part to keep things going, and that extra angst with Meemaw hanging on behind him. These two are just too adorable as a duo, and we love that she’s all in. So far, though, it was just riding straight. How crazy is he willing to get with his passenger?
Results: Y, Y, Y
(Flat 900) Growing up in meager circumstances, a pair of inline skates at 12 years old shaped the trajectory of his life. Now, he’s one of only three people in the world who can do the stunt he prepared for this show. Thankfully, Diako didn’t stick to just showing us that stunt, setting us up with increasingly complex jumps and flips as he traversed a relatively new set of ramps built just for this show. As Travis pointed out, the fact the ramps are so new and unfamiliar to Daiko makes this attempt even more dangerous. This isn’t an environment he’s as familiar with, so muscle memory could be off just enough to derail the whole thing. But with a wicked setup and as if with ease, Diako nailed the sunt. It was a beautifully smooth performance from top to bottom with an extremely high danger factor. We’re just not sure there was enough pizzazz in the overall routine, nor do we see how it can be elevated to another level.
(flying trapeze act on the world’s only quad rig) While trapeze has been around forever, this is the only act to incorporate criss-cross trapeze, which adds such an element of danger. The precision required to nail traditional trapeze is insane, but when you’ve got collision potential at every pass, that only makes it that much more essential to get it just right. And it’s not just two, but three bars flying at any given moment. Simon was upfront at the top that he doesn’t like trapeze, and then they had a drop on a basic grab not related to the unique rig. In fact, while the timing was impressive, we were really hoping for more of a visual spectacle with all the criss-crossing. There were some moments, but we didn’t get as much razzle-dazzle as we’d have expected from a trapeze act. We kept thinking it was building to a climax or grand finale with a ton of moving parts, but instead it kind of fizzled out -- and there was that drop. Simon’s critique that it all kind of became the same was true. It’s more than just skill, it has to be a show, too.
Results: Y, Y, N
Jade Kindar Martin
(high wire walk) Jade has been doing this act most of his life, from 14 years old to his current 47 years. But he also does it with no nets and no highline, making the possibility of serious injury if something goes wrong more like a probability or even a certainty. It definitely makes it more “Extreme” and exciting, though. It’s also a testament to his confidence in himself and his act, which is key to success in things like this. As a bonus surprise, the high wire was set on fire just before he started. It was impressive enough when he walked and danced, but then he made a return trip on a bicycle and even stopped halfway through, doubling the balance element of is act. He’s definitely incredible at what he does, with a lot of flair and showmanship, too. The only way he could top it would be acrobatics on the wire. There are certainly more things that can be done to up the ante and keep us on the edges of our seats, and he seems to have unlimited skill and confidence and balance up there.
(50ft Ramp Drop Into 45ft Jump) BMX athletes have made it their lifes’ mission to find craziest ways to get aerial. But with that goal comes incredible danger, as you crash land more than you land. They rattled off a whole list of frightening injuries that would be enough to swear most of us off of ever looking at a bike again, much less jumping. With the massive ramp set up, the guys decided to mix up the fun by mixing up the vehicles. First, they nailed the landing with a jet ski on land, followed by a flip and clean landing on a tricycle. It’s hard enough to land these on traditional bikes, so this was truly crazy. As impressive as those were, the aerial stunts on the scooter were just incredible -- and even more amazing that he landed it. We’re not even sure how you land a recliner, but it happened. Yes, it’s just different vehicles going down the same ramp, but they all respond so differently, it was utterly compelling the whole way. The boys nailed all five jumps, with the last one too crazy and impressive to even describe. It was an incredible showcase.
Results: Y, Y, N/A
(one minute escape from 140ft in the air) Danny pushed his act further than ever before for this stage, elevating himself 140 feet and giving himself just one minute to escape before he’d come crashing down. Escape artists always pretend to be nervous, and their wives always feign terror, but Danny’s anxiety certainly looked palpable and real from where we were safely sitting. Chains, shackles, locked into a mailbox and locked into a box, this is a ridiculously dangerous stunt. He also had to free himself while being elevated, adding that additional element of movement. We did love the dramatic fakeout of cutting the light at the top as the box dropped. Obviously, if all went well, he’d be hanging from the top. But we got a pretty impressive flop from the mailbag after the box smashed before the dramatic reveal of him hanging high above. Escape artists are definitely crazy and this was one of the most dangerous acts of this type we’ve seen, with all the different elements.
Results: Y, Y, Y
(motorbike stunts) Alfredo Silva is a familiar face to “AGT” fans, but in a very different capacity. Nevertheless, he became a fan-favorite danger act as part of a knife-throwing duo with his wife Anna. That duo competed twice, in Season 11 and again on “Champions.” Now, he’s back with a whole different group, competing in something we’ve seen before, which is putting motorcycles inside a hollow globe, i.e. the cage of death. This isn’t something new, though, as Alfredo has been doing this for years and is a third-generation rider. In other words, this may be even more his true element than Deadly Games. Not only were there bikes in the globe, he added bikes jumping over the globe at the same time. As the act progressed, Alfredo stood in the middle of the cage as the bikes circled around him and two more flew over doing stunts. The whole thing was such a spectacle, with danger happening everywhere at once. He then got into the cage on a third bike, making precision absolutely essential. And then they couldn’t get distracted by incredible stunts happening above them, and vice-versa. It was so much at once it was almost overwhelming, but absolutely incredible to watch. We do think it was a little odd that SImon couldn’t vote but Terry could give his golden buzzer, because he knows Alfredo, too, from the “Champions” season.
Results: Terry’s Golden Buzzer
“America’s Got Talent: Extreme” continues for the next two Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.