After danger act, Jonathan Goodwin was seriously injured while filming a stunt for the spinoff series, America’s Got Talent: Extreme last week a former AGT contestant is speaking out.
Danny Wolverton aka Special Head, told the New York Post that performers are pushed to do “bigger and better” acts each week even though they may not be experienced enough to pull off complicated and dangerous stunts.
Wolverton performed levitation acts on America’s Got Talent season 8. “They do try to push acts to do things bigger and better,” he told the Post. To be fair, Wolverton’s act went viral, but not because it was dangerous (it wasn’t).
Goodwin suffered multiple broken bones, cuts and burns
TMZ reported this week that Goodwin suffered multiple broken bones in both of his legs, plus cuts all over his face and burns after his danger act went wrong. The dare devil became sandwiched between two cars before they smashed together. After the impact, he fell 40 feet to the ground on his head, missing the airbag that was supposed to catch him. Goodwin was supposed to fall first, but the act’s timing was off.
After the horrific accident, AGT paused filming which is taking place at the Atlanta Speedway in Georgia. Simon Cowell, Nikki Bella, and Travis Pastrana sit on the judges panel, while Terry Crews hosts.
“You will push yourself beyond what you would normally feel is safe because you’re in the mindset of this is my big shot”
Wolverton told the Post that the show scouted him in 2013, only a year into performing his levitation stunts.
“They don’t like the middle ground of someone who is mediocre. They want an act that is either so good or not really,” he said.
“You have a lot of people with big dreams and whenever you have people who aren’t as established, you’ll have people going on the show who aren’t very experienced doing what they’re doing.”
Wolverton said that most contestants will bring their A-game to the first episodes, but then in order to advance, they need to make their act bigger and bigger to impress producers.
“They’ll try to push acts to do the acts they want to be done,” Wolverton said. “They know how to use leverage. One thing they did with me they made it uncertain whether they were going to pass me.”
Wolverton wonders if producers sabotaged his act on purpose
For the third round, Wolverton wanted to do a stunt that involved a Tesla coil, but the producers suggested he do a disappearing illusion that he had never performed before. He only had 10 minutes to practice.
He feels that advice production gave him ruined the act, and wonders if producers gave bad advice because they wanted his act to fail.
“The fact that they told me not to duck my head makes me question whether the failing of this illusion was intentional or not,” he said.
Wolverton stressed that he never felt as if he was physically in danger and that he believed that the show goes to lengths to keep contestants safe.
“When you get a taste of fame, it can be corrupting to your own psychology,”
However, “The problem is the performers can become kind of blinded by the game and they can sometimes push themselves beyond what they’re normally comfortable with because when you get a taste of fame, it can be corrupting to your own psychology,” he said.
Wolverton talks about pressure from producers. It’s believable, because Simon is always pressuring acts, from the judges panel, to continually top themselves. He constantly expresses how much he loves dangerous acts.
Another point, there are usually a few dangerous acts every season, and at times, things go sideways, live on stage. But an entire series built around dangerous acts ups the possibility that something will go wrong. And in the cast of AGT:Extreme, it went horribly wrong.