When mentalist/magician Max Major performed on the America’s Got Talent semifinals Tuesday night, judges Howie Mandel and Sofia Vergara thought his chatty act, which involved asking the cast and audience to pick random numbers, was confusing. But viewers at home were even more confused, when it sounded like a member of the show’s virtual audience chose the number 13, but Max claimed that she’d said “14.”
Later, in what was supposed to be his big reveal, Max played back a video that he’d filmed before going on the air, in which he’d predicted all of the numbers (including 14) and had plastered those digits across a Universal CityWalk billboard. But… watch Max’s entire semifinals routine below, and listen closely around the 3:08 mark. If that girl in pink really chose 13 — a number that actually ended up being a later part of Max’s act, via a supposedly random roulette-wheel spin — and not 14, it would have ruined his whole illusion:
AGT fans on Twitter were quick to point out this discrepancy, even if the judges (including Heidi Klum, who’d been recruited as Max’s onstage assistant) oddly said nothing and played along. "Hey I’m pretty sure the audience member said 13, not 14 during Max Major’s performance; I call a cheat, I’m disappointed,” tweeted one irate viewer. "Did anyone else clearly hear the little girl say 13 and not 14 during Max Major #agt performance? Because I swear she did which means he didn't actually succeed in his act,” observed another.
#AGT okay Max Major. That little girl CLEARLY said 13... not 14.— Carrie Molina (@HighAsThe_Moon) September 16, 2020
The girl on the zoom call said 13 and Not 14, then it landed on 13. Something sketchy about that #AGT— Toronto man (@AlexMic10) September 16, 2020
After rewind it Um...the kid said 13... failed trick...Sorry Max Major #AGT— new account (@xjose_correax) September 16, 2020
This was not the first time that Max had been called out on social media for a possibly bogus act. An entire Reddit thread exists about his quarterfinals routine, in which one member of that week’s virtual audience claimed that they were coached in advance to draw the same picture of a sun. Of course, Max’s whole shtick, which he has always been transparent about, involves the power of subliminal persuasion, so that sun routine fell into more of a gray area. But if Max misheard “13” as “14” — or even worse, pretended to mishear, for the sake of salvaging his performance — that would be a bigger problem.
Controversy aside, I don’t think Max had much of a chance of advancing to next week’s finals anyway, with such a slow and anticlimactic act. If magician were to go through, I’d root for this week’s Brett Loudermilk, who successfully pulled off a bizarre and wholly original stunt that involved an endoscopic camera and the upchucking of a swallowed plastic toy. Now, that was a big reveal that no one predicted! But the judges (especially germaphobe Howie) and audience seemed so grossed out by the hygienic risks and that close-up video tour of Brett’s fleshy esophagus that I don’t think he will make it either.
Instead, Wednesday’s results show will probably look more like America’s Got Singers, with this week’s Cristina Rae, Celina, Kanadi Dodds, and Daneliya Tuleshova (along with dynamic dance troupe W.A.F.F.L.E. Crew) likely making the cut and joining last week’s singing contestants Broken Roots, Archie Williams, and Roberta Battaglia for Season 15’s final showdown. See you then.
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