A former contestant on “America’s Got Talent” revealed on Monday that performers are pushed to do “bigger and better” acts each week even though they may not have the experience to pull off the outrageous stunts.
Danny Wolverton, 36, who performed levitation acts on Season 8, told The Post about the pressure that contestants face to make it to the next round by pulling off wild stunts — similar to one that left a stuntman critically injured last week after he was crushed between cars.
“They do try to push acts to do things bigger and better,” Wolverton told The Post.
“You will push yourself beyond what you would normally feel is safe because you’re in the mindset of this is my big shot,” he added.
Wolverton said he was scouted to be on the show in 2013, only a year into performing his levitation stunts.
“They don’t like the middle ground of someone who is mediocre. They want an act that is either so good or not really,” Wolverton said.
“You have a lot of people with big dreams and whenever you have people who aren’t as established, you’ll have people going on the show who aren’t very experienced doing what they’re doing.”
Wolverton said that most contestants try to bring their A-game in the first episodes, forcing them to try and top themselves with acts pitched to them by producers.
“They’ll try to push acts to do the acts they want to be done,” Wolverton said. “They know how to use leverage. One thing they did with me they made it uncertain whether they were going to pass me.”
When it came time for the third round, Wolverton said he wanted to do a stunt that involved a Tesla coil but producers suggested he do a disappearing illusion that he had never performed before.
Despite his unfamiliarity with the act, he was only given 10 minutes to practice, he said.
“I’m ducking my head in rehearsals. They said, ‘Don’t duck your head. Our technicians are on it and are going to make it look great,’ ” he said.
But he said when he performed it live, the advice ruined the performance.
“What you see in the poof of smoke, and you see from the glint of light my head appear from the smoke and you see a black screen,” Wolverton said.
“The fact that they told me not to duck my head makes me question whether the failing of this illusion was intentional or not,” he said.
Wolverton stressed that he never felt as if he was physically in danger and that he believed that the show goes to lengths to keep contestants safe.
But he said that he has concerns about the pressures that competitors are under.
“The problem is the performers can become kind of blinded by the game and they can sometimes push themselves beyond what they’re normally comfortable with because when you get a taste of fame, it can be corrupting to your own psychology,” he said.
Reps for “America’s Got Talent” didn’t immediately comment.
NBC put its spinoff called “America’s Got Talent: Extreme” on hold after stuntman, Jonathan Goodwin, barely survived being sandwiched between two cars.
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