For 16 seasons, by Simon Cowell America’s Got Talent gave a platform to incredibly talented people who compete for glory, fame and a handsome prize money. The singers, comedians, and magicians you’d expect in a show like this go head-to-head alongside less traditional escape artists, human cannonballs, and people shooting arrows at each other. It is not easy to judge such disparate talents at the same time.
Fortunately, Cowell launched a short spin-off of the main competition called Extreme AGT and brought Travis Pastrana and Nikki Bella as judges. This 4-week contest is for extreme athletes and daredevils vying for $500,000. Going into the finals on March 14, ten acts stand out as serious championship contenders.
Diako Diaby, inline skating
Diako Diaby is a professional inline skater from Paris, France. He is also one of only three people in the world who can perform a Flat 900, which consists of a flip and two and a half turns. For Extreme AGTDiako performed his signature trick, but first he gave the audience a great ride with stunts that were very impressive in themselves.
His brilliant performance made this brutal sport easy. It may have worked against him, however, as he failed to excite Simon with the beginning phase of his act.
David ‘The Bullet’ Smith, Human Cannonball
The son of the greatest human cannonball of all time, David “The Bullet” Smith continued his father’s legacy. He shared that his father was an engineer who built his cannons and used them to bring home the Guinness World Record for the longest human cannonball, and the family continued to set records. David has broken the last six records for the highest and longest shots. His father joined him for the stunt, and his daughter, Chloe, will one day carry on the family tradition.
The bullet pointed its barrel at the steepest angle recorded to shoot itself ninety feet high through a flaming ring onto a frighteningly small net. As he prepared to take off, the wind picked up, adding to the danger of the stunt. After some last minute aiming adjustments from his dad, David shot himself perfectly through the air.
Jade Kindar-Martin, High Wire
The balance of this high-flying artist is superhuman. Jade Kindar Martin wowed the judges by walking on the tightrope with no tether or safety net. The pole he used for balance was the only aid he had.
Another detail he chose not to mention when describing the trick beforehand is that the wire was on fire. He crossed the fiery tightrope, jumping and dancing, before cycling back to where he started.
Chloe Chambers, racing driver
Chloe Chambers is a 17-year-old racing driver with big aspirations. She is already a successful racer with several titles in karting. She has just made the transition to Formula 4 cars with the hope of one day moving to Formula 1 cars and competing in the Indy 500. Chloe aims to break down barriers in a sport primarily played by men. She currently holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest slalom in a vehicle.
She asked Simon to drive a car on a course before going by herself to demonstrate her abilities. Simon is an above average rider, but Chloe still finished the course much faster. She rolled on a skid plate, simulating a slide on an icy road, kept control and finished in a slalom. His talent was impressive but difficult to demonstrate in a competition like AGT. Simon and Travis both struggled to judge him without a better comparison metric.
Aaron Wheelz, Wheelchair Ramp
Aaron Wheelz was born with spina bifida and had 23 surgeries as a child. He shared how he found freedom when he got his wheelchair. After watching some kids at the skatepark, he decided to give it a try and came with his chair. Although he was wiped out the first time around, he fell in love and became a wheelchair motocross athlete, performing stunts and tricks in his wheelchair.
For Extreme AGTAaron performed a ramp drop in a 40ft forward swing. He over-rotated, hit his head against the railing, and slid headfirst. But he demonstrated his impressive courage by shaking it off, climbing the tower and attempting the trick again. The second successful attempt was made more remarkable by his ability to land him after such a bad fall.
Shemika Campbell, Limbo
Shemika Campbell is an incredibly talented limbo dancer who had an ax to grind with Simon. She competed on AGT in 2017 and blew everyone away at the auditions. Then Simon described his act as part of a children’s party during the judge’s cuts.
Shemika pulled out all the stops to impress the judges, limbo beneath their slightly elevated platform and two vehicles (a Guinness World Record). She completed her performance by passing under flaming bars. She conquered Simon but found a new obstacle in Travis, who was on the fence of the performance.
Alfredo Silva’s Caged Riders
If you watched America’s Got Talentyou will recognize Alfredo Silva from Dangerous Games, a knife throwing act he performs with his wife. He decided to increase the danger for Extreme AGTtaking with him a team of bikers.
He and two other riders rode inside a round metal cage, accelerating in all directions at high speed. At the same time, another team of runners jumped over the cell. Silva’s experience as a performer shone as the act escalated, becoming more and more dangerous until the thrilling climax.
Aaron Evans, Parkour
Aaron Evans is a traceur, a practitioner of parkour. His flagship reel showcased his exceptional acrobatic skill, but the way he chose to demonstrate his abilities in the competition was over the top. Three times Aaron had a McLaren on him at 30 mph.
Each time, he ran without safety equipment towards the vehicle and jumped over it while performing a perfect front flip. Aaron made this extremely difficult waterfall looks easy and finished with a festive tumble. Before returning from the lap on stage, Simon went out of his way to tell Aaron, “You’re crazy!”
The Nitro Circus Contraption Kings, weird jumps
Kings of the Nitro Circus Gear are a group of BMX stunt riders who like to push the limits. Sometimes they fly too close to the sun and they’ve broken just about everything, including sternums, shins, fibulae, ankles, shoulders, and teeth, and they’ve even had a few skull fractures.
For their performance, they jumped off ramps onto various objects not intended for this stunt. They soared through the air on a jet ski, tricycle, scooter, recliner and a plush rocking horse. They surprised themselves landing the jump every time, with awesome tricks happening on the scooter and the rocking horse. This performance was the most fun of the competition.
Leeky Da Bikestar, Street Motocross
Leeky Da Bikestar grew up in a tough neighborhood and bought a dirt bike at age eight to stay out of trouble. Over the years, his passion and talent grew. Now he’s a well-known YouTube cyclist and runs a Wheelie School, an after-school program he hopes will introduce other kids to his passion and keep them from getting distracted. He hopes to win and use the prize to buy land and turn his passion into a real sport.
Leeky rides a stock motocross bike on the street without any modifications, built for the dirt. Travis Pastrana’s mind was blown by what Leeky could do with an unmodified bike. With only a helmet for protection, Leeky began his performance by riding a wheelie while weaving through a line of cars. Then he back-and-forth wheeled, stood, jumped and danced on the bike. He ended up riding it standing completely straight with no hands. His control and balance were incredible. In addition to his talent, Leeky’s excellent presentation turned it into a one-man show.
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“Obi-Wan Kenobi” will air on May 25.
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