‘AGT: Extreme’ auditions premiere recap: Simon Cowell, Nikki Bella and Travis Pastrana search for ‘Extreme Champion’

This season “America’s Got Talent” is taking talent to the limits with “AGT: Extreme.” Hosted by Terry Crews with Simon Cowell, WWE Divas two-time champion Nikki Bella, and motorsports champion Travis Pastrana as judges, the spinoff series focuses on stunt acts and the talented performers that attempt the most dangerous feats. After four weeks of competition, one act will become the first “Extreme Champion” and win the cash prize of $500,000.

In the initial phase of the competition, acts must earn a “yes” vote from at least two of the three judges to advance to the next round where America’s superfans will vote. The judges also have the special “Golden Buzzer” option available to them, which they traditionally reserve for the auditions that impress them the most.

Read below for our minute-by-minute recap of the “AGT: Extreme – Auditions Premiere” and then sound off in the comments about the acts that had you on the edge of your seat:

8:05 p.m. – In the introduction of the judges, Simon and Terry explained that the concept of the show is three years in the making, created from an idea they had to showcase all the type of daring acts that they could never accommodate while doing the show indoors. For this season, the show is outdoors and filmed at the Atlanta Motor Speedway where performers had all the space imaginable for their truly crazy ideas.

8:07 p.m. – The first act of the premiere episode was Aaron Evans, an extreme parkour and freerunning athlete, who introduced himself as someone that can “jump over any and everything.” He promised to attempt the “most epic jump of [his] life” that “requires immense precision” with no crash mats involved and no room for error. Ahead of the act, Simon noted that Aaron looked incredibly nervous and that made sense when the three sports cars on the lot started revving their engines. For the act, Aaron gave the signal for the first car to speed toward him at a set 30 mph and himself ran toward it. When it got close enough to him he jumped in a full flip, completely clearing the car by the time he landed.

8:15 p.m. – To extend the act, Aaron then repeated the act with the second car and then the third as well, barely catching his breath in between. Back at the main stage later, Travis said the showmanship was impressive and that he cleared the cars by more than a little bit was fantastic. Nikki said the ability to balance the adrenaline rush of it with timing was where the talent was. Simon “absolutely bleeping loved” Aaron’s act, calling it one of “the most sensational” auditions and defines what they wanted to see on this version of the show. With the full support of the panel, Aaron received three “yes” votes and Simon’s prediction that he’d be seen in the final.

8:25 p.m. – Next up was a trio of daredevils called the Joogsquad. They got their start by posting pranks and dares in online videos for laughs as kids and have since made a job out of content creation. One of their main goals is to always do something that people have never seen before and said they’d be “raising the bar” with this performance. In the act one member lit a cape on fire and then jumped from there trampolines high into a kiddie pool of water, another member fell from the same height down to another trampoline covered in mouse traps and then on to another covered in Legos, and then the third member skim boarded through a river of fire. Travis was happy that they showed him something he’s never seen before, Simon thought the beginning was just okay despite really liking their personalities, and Nikki agreed that the ending of their act was exciting, but there’s so much more they could have done. Travis gave a clear “yes,” and while it seemed like the other two might vote “no,” they also said “yes,” sending the group through to America’s vote.

8:37 p.m. – The next group to perform was the foursome that makes up Verge Aero, a group of computer and electrical engineers that call themselves “drone nerds.” For tonight’s performance they built 160 drones to create a light show 350 feet high. They explained that “talent comes in many different forms” and that it isn’t dangerous, but it is on the extreme end of what people think is possible because of the size of it. In the show they managed to get the drones to form perfect and colorful shapes in the sky including, squares, stars, cylinders, the United States and even the AGT logo. Nikki called it “astonishing” and said their brain power is beyond her understanding. Travis was also amazed, saying it’s better than a fireworks show, and Simon said it was so “sensational” and it’s extreme because of how “spectacular” it is. He was so taken by the act that he was compelled to “give [them] something,” and that was the Golden Buzzer! As the Golden Buzzer act, they get to skip America’s vote and go straight to the Finals.

8:50 p.m. – Human cannonball David “The Bullet” Smith was next, attempting to live up to his family’s legacy by doing the steepest shot he’s ever attempted through a ring of fire in the sky. As the Guiness record holder for highest and longest human cannonball shots already, this steep shot would break new ground for David. Ahead of the shot, David explained that the ring of fire is 90 feet high and he’ll be shot from 0 to 74 mph in less than half a second.

9:01 p.m. – After adjusting the cannon to compensate for the direction of the wind and how it was changing the flame on the ring, David climbed into the cannon’s mouth before being shot perfectly through the center of the ring and landing expertly on the net beyond it. Later at the main stage, Travis said all his boxes were ticked because of the showmanship, Nikki agreed and said she was wowed, and Simon could see how much it meant to David to do this act in front of his dad and daughter. David received “yes” votes across the board to move on.

9:11 p.m. – Also a social media content creator, Jenna Bandy came to the show with an attempt to beat her own world record of 90 feet for the farthest female football throw into a target. She only had “one shot, one opportunity,” but was short on her first shot, hit the backboard of the hoop on the second, and completely overshot on her third attempt. Her closest attempt was her sixth, but when her final ball missed as well Simon hit his X. For the judges there just wasn’t enough extreme, and though Nikki liked her energy there was no way they could move her to the next round.

9:20 p.m. – Street motocross driver Leeky Da Bikestar has sought to make a career out of his passion, including making YouTube videos of his riding. For his act he assembled a line of cars to drive while he weaved through them, turning tricks and jumps on the bike while balancing on the back tire. For his final trick he stood completely on the seat of the bike while still riding down the road in front of the judges and audience. As someone from a similar sport, Travis said he loved the presentation and clarified that what Leeky does is without all of the adjustments to his motorcycle the the professional do to increase their safety. He called it “some of the most impressive stuff [he’s] ever seen on a stock motorcycle.” Nikki and Simon were both left wanting more, saying that the production element was high and enjoyed that his reason for doing it is so important. The judges were inspired by his story and his talent, giving him an easy set of three “yes” votes.

9:43 p.m. – After racing around the motorway in four different modified “nasty cars” that Nikki brought to the set, the judges reconvened to see Aaron Wheelz land a jump after going down a ramp in his wheelchair. Travis led with the disclaimer that he does already know Aaron and so he’d be judging, but not casting a vote in the decision. Aaron explained that growing up with a disability was hard as a fan of action sports until he got over the fear of using his “different set of wheels” to be an athlete just like the people he was looking up to. Aaron told the judges that he’s nervous for this act because it’s a big ramp that’s going to propel him into a 40 ft jump and he doesn’t always land it. In order to get a realistic perspective of what Aaron was about to attempt, the judges climbed to the top of the ramp to observe from there. In the jump, Aaron did not complete the landing, instead sliding on his stomach across the landing mat, but got himself up and signaled that he was OK.

9:54 p.m. – Despite not sticking the first attempt, Aaron climbed to the top of the ramp again and asked for permission to go again. He said that he over-rotated and all he hurt in the first attempt was his pride and that he’s “got to get it.” Sure enough, Aaron was right and he was able to correct his error from the first attempt and successfully land his second attempt! Back at the main stage, Travis said that it was “so cool to see” him land a perfect front flip after landing on his face the first time. Simon told him he “defines” why they make the show, is an amazing person and has “every chance” of winning the show. Nikki said that champions push their limits and because he did that she had to give him her Golden Buzzer straight to the Finals!

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