Aidan Bryant took his act to a whole new level in Tuesday's America's Got Talent finale, earning the ultimate standing ovation from judge Simon Cowell. The 16-year-old aerialist performed his most dangerous routine yet to "Caught in the Fire" during Tuesday's show, ending the number dangling simply from his ankles after a gasp-worthy controlled fall.
Bryant has come a long way from the young man who stole his grandmother's sheets to teach himself aerial work after seeing Pink perform, with flames dancing around him as he dominated the stage with his impressive movements. Cowell was so impressed by his routine that he got up and stood on the table to applaud Bryant when it came time for the judges' critiques.
"I did that because I don't think a standing ovation was big enough for what that was. You are unbelievably talented," Cowell told the finalist. "Sixteen years old, every week you risk your life." He gushed that Bryant's creativity is "off the chart," concluding, "This was honestly one of the best live performances I've ever seen."
Judge Heidi Klum was similarly impressed, telling Bryant, "I'm just so proud of you and what you have accomplished. You had this dream and you went for it. You trained so hard, and here you are." Sofia Vergara chimed in how much progress Bryant had made at such a young age, calling the performer "spectacular." While Howie Mandel noted he preferred Bryant's previous routine, he did declare both performances "brilliant."
Prior to this season of the NBC talent show, Mandel told PopCulture he was being more "unedited" and "honest" than ever this season. While he "would never want to hurt anybody's feelings or offend anybody," Mandel realized that by giving his total opinion, he was doing the performers "a service" that would better their act. "And so I have become more honest and more unedited than I have ever been, and I'm comfortable with that," he shared. "I just think I'm unedited and more honest, and comfortable being honest and saying what I think than I have ever been." America's Got Talent airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.