An Israeli circus trio stole the show on “America’s Got Talent” Tuesday night, garnering “yes” votes from all four judges to move through the audition round after a one-of-a-kind performance that involved six matkot paddles, one ball and no clothes.
Reactions ranged from laughs to grimaces of discomfort to an eventual standing ovation, as Amit, Yaron and Noam performed a circus version of the popular Israeli beach game, picking up the little orange ball, hitting it to one another and juggling the paddles — all while trying to avoid exposing themselves to the crowd of 1,400 along with millions watching at home.
Their grand finale act featured Yaron tossing the ball in the direction of Noam and Amit, who lunged for it simultaneously. Instead of trying to corral it with their paddles though, the pair instinctively tried catching the ball with their hands.
Noam managed to do so, but both he and Amit dropped their paddles in the process, exposing their behinds to a shocked crowd, which was left guessing whether the failed stunt had been an accident or a purposeful ploy that ended up rousing a bigger reaction than they would have received had the trick been successful.
They then sheepishly shuffled off the stage, waving goodbye to the crowd that they had brought to its feet, before coming back on again in pink robes to hear from the judges.
“Is this a famous Israel show? [Do the] people love this?” Sophia Vergara asked them.
“Not yet,” Noam replied honestly, to even more laughs from the crowd.
Heidi Klum quipped that the troupe should use smaller paddles next time — a suggestion that would make covering up mid-performance even more difficult. Noam retorted, “We’ve got a lot more to show!”
Klum added that the group, called Bomba (Hebrew slang for “a blast” or “the bomb”), had been her favorite act of the day. This seemed to surprise Vergara, but her “What!?” response was drowned out by cheers from the crowd.
They then began to vote, with all of the judges agreeing to send Bomba on to the next round.
The trio were applauded off the stage, as Howie Mandell — who is Jewish — shouted, “Shalom!”
Over 160,000 people watched the YouTube clip of their performance in the first 24 hours after it went live.
The troupe was interviewed Wednesday on Channel 12 and reflected on the experience of having been among the 200 performances chosen from 75,000 submissions to make it into the audition round of the hit American show.
Amit told Channel 12 that the AGT producers had warned them not to wear circus clothes in their audition because Simon Cowell doesn’t like circus acts. This made their decision not to wear anything at all even easier, he joked.
“Circus means danger. Without danger the number doesn’t work, so we had to add some danger to it,” he said of their wardrobe choice.
Noam confided that he had blacked out during the performance for the first time in his life.
“Thankfully, we did lots of rehearsals, so my body remembered all of the moves. But I was really in a panic,” he told Channel 12.
Since the successful performance, the troupe said, they’ve already received invitations to compete on Got Talent shows in Romania and France — offers they’re still trying to process, given that not so long ago, they were juggling in the streets of Tel Aviv in order to make enough money to pay for circus school.