Warning! The following contains spoilers for the America’s Got Talent: Extreme premiere. Read at your own risk!
America’s Got Talent: Extreme’s premiere was just what the title promised: extreme. The AGT spinoff on NBC pulled together a bunch of exciting acts for its opening episode and as always, saved its best performance for last. WWE hall of famer Nikki Bella (who recently appeared in the Royal Rumble) awarded her first golden buzzer as an AGT judge, and I’m really hoping recipient Aaron Wheelz wins this whole competition.
Aaron Wheelz, real name Aaron Fotheringham, is a contestant unlike others seen in the America’s Got Talent: Extreme premiere. Fotheringham fostered a love for extreme sports most of his life but had to compete in unique ways thanks to his spina bifida. As such, he performs most of his stunts with the use of his wheelchair, which is where the name Aaron Wheelz came from.
Wheelz had quite the stunt planned for America’s Got Talent: Extreme, as he attempted a massive ramp drop into a 40ft front flip all from his wheelchair. Judge and extreme sports legend Travis Pastrana (who is basically the Shaun White of extreme stunts) revealed he knew Aaron Wheelz prior to the show, which should’ve been an indication that some wild (and possibly dangerous) stunt was about to happen. Wheelz got to the top of the ramp with assistance and with his first attempt, took a hard face plant and failed the stunt.
The impact, quite frankly, looked devastating, but as America’s Got Talent: Extreme showed, that didn’t deter Aaron Wheelz. He insisted on doing the stunt again, despite insistence from Simon Cowell (who knows something about injuries) and other judges that he didn’t need to. Of course, he nailed the second attempt to thunderous applause, and after that, Nikki Bella couldn’t help but give him her golden buzzer. Take a look:
America’s Got Talent: Extreme is clearly loaded with talent that has the courage to do dangerous things more than once, but few stories showcased in the premiere felt as inspiring as Aaron Wheelz. He’s out there doing stunts just as off-the-wall as anyone else seen in the competition, and it’s hard not to root for him knowing he wants to help raise awareness for spina bifida.
I certainly hope to see him go far in this competition and achieve that goal, and I’d love to see him win the whole thing after that inspiring first performance. Of course, the season is still young, and there might be one or two other people who are worth rooting for as the season continues. All the golden buzzer winners are typically strong competitors (based on past experience), so we’ll see who the other judges pick for their top acts.
America’s Got Talent: Extreme is only getting started over on NBC, and new episodes air on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. It’s one of many exciting new shows arriving as we transition from the winter to spring season, and one that will certainly be appointment television for the next few weeks.
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Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.