“America’s Got Talent: Extreme” went fast and furious in finding the adrenaline-fueled “AGT” spinoff’s $500,000 winner and first-ever champion.
It took four weeks of thrills and spills and a lot of flames to see Monday’s NBC finale face-off between the last two contestants, approved by judges Simon Cowell, Travis Pastrana and Nikki Bella and voted on by superfans from around the country.
The finale featured Alfredo Silva’s Cage Riders, the Las Vegas motorcycle stunt crew given a Golden Buzzer pass to the finals from host Terry Crews in week two. The other finals spot was claimed by wheelchair athlete Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, who kicked off “AGT: Extreme” on week one, landing a daring flip, after a gnarly wipe-out, from a jump. The act earned a Golden Buzzer pass from Bella.
But who prevailed in Monday’s pre-taped “AGT: Extreme” finals?
(Stop reading if you don’t want the ending spoiled!)
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“I’m just trying not to cry right now,” Wheelz told host Crews when he found out he would compete in the finals.
Wheelz, who was born with spina bifida, says that action sports has been a huge inspiration in his life. “It feels like I have been training my whole life for this,” he said of seeking the “AGT: Extreme” grand prize.
The extreme athlete amped it up from his week one frontflip, to “something even more difficult”: a backflip from the same precarious 50-foot ramp.
“It’s really sketchy because I’m blind for most of the flip,” he told the judges. Even Pastrana appeared nervous because “with the backflip it’s so easy to over-rotate and overspin.”
Sure enough, the helmeted and padded Wheelz over-rotated on his jump and crashed into the ramp after the flip.
But Wheelz went right back up for jump number two, promising to make small adjustments and “land wheels down this time.” And yet, the second jump devastatingly was even more out-of-control, sending Wheelz into careening down the ramp again.
Disappointing, but Cowell summed it up: “You landed, you’re safe, that’s the most important thing. It’s unbelievable what you did.”
“Hopefully the superfans have mercy,” said Wheelz.
“I’m so proud you were my Golden Buzzer, because you are what this show is all about,” said Bella.
But Silva, a sixth-generation extreme performer, and his Cage Riders were determined to take their motorcycle stunts to the next level.
Silva yelled, “It’s go time,” before taking on the amped-up stunt in the Cage of Death, a tiny motorcycle globe that’s dangerous for three speeding riders. But for the finals, he threw in a fourth rider.
“We’re going to add one more, and I guess kind of go for it,” he said.
Pastrana pointed out the fourth rider zooming around the Cage of Death added “exponentially” to the danger. WWE star Bella covered her eyes as the fourth motorcycle was added to the motorcycle mayhem. But all four motorcycles revved around the confined cage for about a minute without catastrophe, setting off “AGT: Extreme” fireworks.
“It’s rare I see something so in my wheelhouse, I was on the edge of my seat,” said Pastrana.
“That’s final-esque, I don’t even know that was a word,” said Bella, who added the stunt was “epic.” Cowell said the group took the stunt to an 11 from their previous 10 score.
As the two sets of performers were brought back onto the stage, it was up to the superfan voters to decide the wi.
Crews announced that Alfredo Silva’s Cage Riders were “AGT: Extreme” champions as the fireworks went off.
As Silva said before taking the stunt, the money was important. “But it’s about honor, representing my family. I want to make them proud.”