Why America's Got Talent's Aerialist Death Drop Was Even More Dangerous Than It Looked

americas got talent season 15 alan silva aerialist nbc
(Image credit: NBC)

Spoilers ahead for the August 25 episode of America's Got Talent Season 15 on NBC.

The quarterfinals of America's Got Talent Season 15 got more intense than ever in the latest episode, as ten acts hit the stage in some form or other for only five open slots in the next stage of competition. While there were some incredible dance numbers, musical performances, a reality-warping mentalist, and even a slightly cringe-worthy comedy routine, an undeniable standout was aerialist Alan Silva, who performed a death drop (over spikes) that was even more dangerous than viewers could have known just from watching.

The reveal of the true danger of the death drop came courtesy of judge Howie Mandel (who debunked rumors that he was being held captive this summer) after Alan Silva completed his routine. While Silva had revealed via interview that he intended to perform a stunt that had ended in a nearly career-ending injury, viewers had no way to know that the performance almost didn't happen. Speaking to Silva after the end of his aerialist silk routine, Mandel said:

I think what the people at home who have to vote don’t know, you almost didn’t do it. I don’t know if you could tell that the stage was wet and slippery, number one. Number two, there was too much wind. Usually you do that inside. And then number three, you did something where the last time you did it you broke your neck. So taking all these three into consideration, it’s your vote, America!

Viewers who caught the episode live knew that this performance included a stunt that had nearly ended Alan Silva's career, but I for one couldn't tell that the America's Got Talent outdoor stage had been so much as damp, let alone wet and slippery! Silva had so much control over the silks that it didn't even occur to me that he might have been dealing with wind, which wouldn't have been a factor if Silva was going for the top AGT prize in any previous season.

Thanks to pandemic precautions, stunts like his were moved to an outdoor stage, which meant dealing with the elements on top of the normal challenges. If there is such a thing as a "normal" challenge when it comes to an aerialist performance culminating in a death drop, anyway! Following the death drop, judge Heidi Klum complimented Alan Silva on how he would "radiate joy" as he flew through the air, while judge Sofia Vergara credited him for a "breathtaking" and "exciting" performance despite observing some nervousness at the end for the death drop.

The consensus between the three judges (with Simon Cowell still absent due to injury and no guest judge stepping in after Kelly Clarkson and Kenan Thompson) seemed to be that Alan Silva pulled off something remarkable and deserves to continue in America's Got Talent Season 15, but the competition throughout the night was stiff, and only five of the acts will move beyond the quarterfinals. Check out Alan Silva's aerialist routine and death drop!

You can vote for Alan Silva and/or some of his competitors to move forward in America's Got Talent Season 15 on the official voting page, with voting open from the end of the August 25 broadcast to 7 a.m. ET on August 26 before the primetime results show. Find out the results on August 26 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC!

If you're in the market for some additional viewing options now and in the coming weeks, be sure to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule and our 2020 Netflix premiere guide.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).