It’s easy to accuse TV judges of being over the top.
Last night the judges appeared to get overwrought for Indonesian escape artist Demian Aditya when his sandbox escape appeared to go wrong.
When he did not emerge from being smothered by sand the crew began yelling “get him out!” and a sledgehammer was used to smash the glass. Surely these judges know Australia’s Got Talent is not going to air someone’s death on TV, so why the panic?
Not so fast…
I was in the audience for this episode recording. For a split second even I thought something had gone awry. But it was all part of the act. This was good old fashioned stage hoodwinking from everybody and I totally fell for it.
“Demian, if you didn’t die, I was just about to kill you. Oh my god, I was seriously in tears,” said Nicole Scherzinger.
Shane Jacobson said, “I don’t like you very much. It’s the ultimate compliment because I genuinely thought it had gone horribly wrong, so you can go to hell for that. I thought I was going to witness the death of someone and what I just witnessed is the birth of a great illusionist. Without a doubt the best illusion I’ve seen on this stage.”
Manu Fieldel added, “My heart was racing a thousand kilometres an hour and I had my phone in my hand for triple zero too.”
It’s the difference between being in a live audience -when something could potentially go wrong- to watching in the post-production safety of your own couch.
As Manu told me recently, “What you say is exactly the difference. If you see it Live, you don’t know what is going to happen.
“(But a tragedy) wouldn’t make it on TV.”
Aditya has previously been an illusionist on America’s Got Talent performing the same act, before being brought to Australia by producers.
His act works every time for those who have never seen it, whether TV judges or cynical critics.