The judges on America’s Got Talent were left nearly speechless on the Tuesday, July 17, episode when a dangerous trapeze act went horribly wrong.
Mary Ellen Wolfe-Nielsen and Tyce Nielsen, a married couple who perform together under the name Duo Transcend, took the stage for their latest gravity-defying acrobatics during the first night of season 13’s Judge Cuts round. Their stunts were especially daring because Tyce previously revealed that he is legally blind in his right eye due to a progressive eye disease.
Despite his condition, Tyce blindfolded himself and hung upside down from a suspension bar above the flame-filled stage. His wife climbed up above him and then let go, falling backward so Tyce could catch her by her ankles. However, she slipped through his grip and fell straight down to the floor below.
Judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel, joined by guest judge Ken Jeong, collectively screamed and covered their faces in distress. The cameras also cut to Mary’s mother and the couple’s 2-year-old son, Jaxx, who were watching the scary act from the audience.
Fortunately, Mary landed on a safety mat and appeared to be uninjured. She stood up and assured the horrified crowd that she was OK. Her husband then came down from the air and gave her a big hug and kiss before they offered to give the their act another try.
“No, it’s fine! It’s fine. I don’t think they should try that,” Mel B, 43, immediately responded. Jeong, 49, chimed in, “This is not America’s Got Perfection — it’s America’s Got Talent. No one can do this. I mean, it’s OK!”
Cowell, 58, echoed, “I don’t think there’s ever been a singer on any one of our competitions who’s been note-perfect. It doesn’t make them not amazing; it makes them human. Although the consequences of this are slightly worse than falling off-key, whereas you nearly broke your neck. And the fact that you’re nearly blind makes this incredible.”
Despite what happened, the judges announced that Duo Transcend would be moving on to the live rounds in Hollywood.
America’s Got Talent airs on NBC on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET.