Top 10 Most Surprising Acts from America’s Got Talent

Kevin Johnson

Written by Tim Grable

April 20, 2018

The show “America’s Got Talent” is preparing for its fourteenth season, yet there never seems to be any shortage of talent and surprising acts.

Over the years, hundreds of contestants have stepped on stage, performed and dazzled both the judges and those watching from their living room sofa. However, only a few of them were so incredibly-surprising that they are unforgettable.

Millions of fans tune in to see America’s most talented being plucked from obscurity and turned into stars – and they have plenty to see.

During the now thirteen seasons since America’s Got Talent first aired on television, the show has generated some of the biggest names in entertainment. So the supply of surprising acts from America’s Got Talent never seems to run dry. 

In this article, we compiled ten of the most surprising acts from AGT history, so we hope you’re excited.

Top 5 Most Surprising Acts from America's Got Talent

There are too many extraordinary performances to fit into a single article, but here are nine which are highlights of the show for sure.

1. Jon Dorenbos

Jon Dorenbos achieved great success in his career in the NFL. However, he had to retire after having a successful open heart surgery to repair a defective aortic valve. Always with a positive mindset, a great sense of humor and a smile on his face, Jon started dedicating more time to his other big passion: Magic. 

Now a successful motivational speaker and entertainer, Jon uses his skills as a sleight-of-hand magician and his incredible life story to inspire others.

Watch John dazzle judges at America’s Got Talent in the video below (his performance got him the Golden Buzzer).

Jon Dorenbos: Football-Playing Magician Earns Golden Buzzer From Ne Yo - America's Got Talent 2016

2. Blake Vogt 

As he is repeated time and time, Blake Vogt is “obsessed with magic.” Ever since he was a little boy, magic has allowed him to express himself as nothing else did.

After dropping out of college to pursue magic, Blake had the opportunity to work with David Copperfield in Las Vegas.

He also created magic for movies like Now You See Me 1 & 2 and Marvel’s Ant-Man, as well as television shows. However, his talent shines the brightest when there is a live audience in front of him.

How come?

Well, you can watch his surprising performance in the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent in the video below and see for yourself:

America's Got Talent 2016 Semi-Finals Magician Blake Vogt S11E18

3. Kevin Johnson

Kevin Johnson is one of the most experienced ventriloquists in the industry. His passion for this art started when he was only nine years old, and his parents gave him his first pull-string dummy as a gift for Christmas.

Kevin has been improving his skills as a ventriloquist ever since and even come up with his own technique for not moving his mouth when he is performing. However, what makes him stand out from the rest is his incredible ability to build convincing characters which seem to have real personalities and appeal to all kinds of audience.

Kevin appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2006 when he managed to get Simon Cowell to react unexpectedly by saying: “America loves you.”Kevin Johnson   

4. Merrick Hanna

Merrick Hanna had one of the most surprising acts from America’s Got Talent, season 12, thanks to his popping “flo-bot” dancing style. The 12-year-old young dancer captivated the audience with his sweet personality, unexpected robot-like moves, and stage charisma.

Despite his young age, Merrick was also featured on shows such as “Lip Sync Battle Shorties,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Merrick became an instant sensation online as well with his AGT audition performance gaining more than 16 Million views on YouTube alone. Take a look:

America's Got Talent 2017 Merrick Hanna 12 Year Old's Captivating Dance Performance Full Audition S

5. Donovan Jones and Rebecca Peache

No list of most surprising acts from America’s Got Talent is complete without the mention of Donovan Jones and Rebecca Peache – seven-time Guinness World Record holders.

Their act specializes in aerial acrobatics and acrobalance, which is best described as a combination of partner lifts and hand balancing. Their aerial act which seems to defy the laws of gravity will keep any audience on the edge of their seats.

Don’t take our word for it, in any case. Here’s their 2012 AGT performance which left the judges in awe:

☆ America Voted ☆ - Donovan and Rebecca Semi finals America's Got Talent 2012

6. Mike Super’s Mystifying Act

“If Desmond doesn’t show up, there is no act!” – Mike Super

Mike Super combines illusionism with a spirit-energy he refers to as “Desmond” to create a new fascinating form of magic. Sounds strange? Well, it’s bound to get even more bizarre when you find out this spirit figure came to Mike when he was just a little boy.

Instead of fearing it, though, Mike decided to use it as the inspiration for a thrilling act which is bound to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

His performance on America’s Got Talent (season 9) which involved a Taser gun made one of the judges leave the stage screaming. Take a look:

Mike Super: Magician Uses Taser Gun and Mel B in Act - America's Got Talent 2014

7. Derek Hughes’ Theatrical Magic Performance

What is most surprising about Derek’s acts is the blend of magic and comedy. The way Derek Hughes manages to combine his abilities as a magician with his sense of humor, so one side doesn’t overpower the other is unexpected- and highly entertaining.

Whether he’s presenting a rope trick or an elaborate card routine which leaves his audiences guessing how he did it, Derek puts a hilarious twist on his act to provide a fun, engaging experience for all those watching.

Check out Derek’s performance in the live shows of America’s Got Talent, season 10:

America's Got Talent 2015 S10E17 Live Shows - Derek Hughes Magician Comedian

8. Max Winfrey’s “Too Close for Comfort” Audition

Generally speaking, you wouldn’t want to see someone cracking jokes while they’re handling a set of sharp knives around other people. Unless that someone is a stunt comedian with 25 years of comedy-improvising experience like Max Winfrey – and it’s all part of an act which is outrageously entertaining.

Max’s fast-paced, off-the-cuff style humor is an instant hit among audiences of all ages and his abilities as a stunt entertainer only make his surprising acts more exciting.

Max Winfrey’s knife-throwing audition on stage at America’s Got Talent (season 5) came with a massive surprise at the end, which was pretty much the icing on the cake. Take a look:

America's Got Talent 2010- Max Winfrey Audition Knife Thrower with Nick Cannon

9. Tom London’s Jaw-Dropping Tech Magic Act

Tom London is only 25 years old, but he is already one of the most promising magicians in the industry today. After being featured on America’s Got Talent, season 12, millions of people were amazed by Tom’s surprising acts and unique style of magic which blends:

  • the use of technology
  • storytelling elements
  • mystery
  • also, a generous dose of the Wow factor.

All these elements come together to create a well-rounded act one can’t help but be fascinated by. Watch Tom as he blows the judges’ minds with his technological magic act which took everyone on a trip around the world.

Tom London: Tech Savvy Magician Goes Around The World With Magic Trick - America's Got Talent 2017

10. Joe Castillo Sand Artist and Storyteller

Sand Art Animals - America's Got Talent Joe Castillo Quarterfinals

“Epic stories in a new light” is Joe Castillo’s personal motto. The bi-lingual speaker and artist has three arrows in his quiver: WordStory, ArtStory and his most famous, SandStory, in which he creates fluid art presentations using sand on a light table to tell stories and inspire awe. Castillo has been featured on America’s Got Talent! and his acts showcased in 35 languages across 43 countries.

Which One of These Surprising Acts Can You Picture at Your Event?

Anyone of the fantastic performers mentioned in this article has the potential to elevate your event and help you provide attendees with an experience they won’t be able to forget any time soon.

Book Any One of These Surprising Acts from America’s Got Talent Today

In case you have found the perfect entertainment choice for your next event among the acts we have included in this article, that is great!

For more options, though, we encourage you to browse through our extended selection of artists, entertainers, and speakers who were featured on one of America’s Got Talent seasons, so far.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.

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