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You’ve Never Seen an Act Recover From Disaster Quite Like Balloon Taro

The unusual Act from Japan bounced back from a few major setbacks on America’s Got Talent.

By Grace Jidoun

Perhaps you’ve wondered what it’s like to be encapsulated in a giant balloon while fearlessly bouncing around a stage. That’s exactly what Balloon Taro from Japan has been doing for 23 years, and his audition on Season 19 of America’s Got Talent had several unusual tricks in store.

How to Watch

Watch America’s Got Talent Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock

Joined by his son, who took on the role of helper, Balloon Taro (who also goes by Fusen Taro) walked a razor-thin line of comedy, disaster, and triumph — all within the span of a few minutes. His whirlwind Act even bewildered Judge Simon Cowell, who ultimately changed his vote.

RELATED: Sofia Vergara Screams Watching This Aerialist Couple’s Scary Act

Taro usually performs for small groups in Japan and told the Judges through an interpreter that he was “extremely nervous” to be on the AGT stage.

“My dream is to show this performance all over the world,” declared the balloon man.

What is Balloon Taro's Act all about?

Balloon Taro performs on stage on America's Got Talent Episode 1906

Before his Act even began, Taro shocked the audience and Judges. After taking off his non-descript sweatpants and hoodie to reveal ripped abs and a Speedo, he jokingly began posturing like a champion bodybuilder, flexing his muscles and hamming it up to the audience. At this point, exactly zero people expected a giant red balloon to come bouncing out on stage.

He quickly commandeered the balloon and put it over his head, continuing the hilarious muscle flexing. But then, he disappeared inside the balloon, and the audience held their breath (likely along with Taro) to see what would happen next. Suddenly, his head popped out, and he began bouncing around the stage in what must be one of the most surreal scenes on AGT.

What went wrong during Balloon Taro's Act?

Balloon Taro performs on stage on America's Got Talent Episode 1906

Everything was going swimmingly until the giant balloon popped, and Taro appeared stunned as he slipped, trying to stand up. As Sophia Vergara screamed in worry, Heidi Klum yelled, “One more!” from the Judges’ table.

Terry Crews sprung into action and retrieved a second balloon from backstage, and as “The Final Countdown” by Europe blasted in the background,

Taro confidently launched into a second attempt at his Act. This time, however, the balloon popped immediately, and Vergara — clearly invested at this point — yelled, “Noooo!” Unfortunately, Crews did not have any more backup balloons on hand, and Simon pressed the dreaded X buzzer.

Not one to be discouraged, Taro ran backstage with the other waiting Acts and frantically ripped open some packaging to retrieve a third balloon. He emerged on stage triumphantly — while still inflating the balloon with what appeared to be a leaf blower — to a cheering crowd. He popped his body inside once again and miraculously bounced up onto several stepstools, each one taller than the next, before landing on a platform made up of three sections. As his son knocked out each section of the platform with a mallet, Balloon Taro deftly bounced down without falling. Finally, he burst out of his balloon (on purpose this time) to a standing ovation.

What did the Judges have to say?

Balloon Taro performs on stage on America's Got Talent Episode 1906

Vergara was the first Judge to jump in with high praise for the unusual Act.

“It was funny. It was creative. It was unbelievable. We had the best time watching you guys, whatever that was,” she laughed.

Heidi also spoke glowingly of “Balloon Man,” saying, “It’s amazing you do this, father and son, together. Honestly, it was really, really entertaining. Incredible! Well done.”

“I agree,” added Howie Mandel. “It did so many things. It entertained, it was original, and it was really funny. You’re amazing. Simon?”

Turning to his fellow Judge, who at this point appeared a bit sheepish for wanting to give Taro the boot before he recovered.

"Well, look,” Cowell began, but he couldn’t get a word in edgewise over the cacophony of boos from the audience. Then he exclaimed, “Please take my X away!”

“I didn’t think the Act was going to work. I thought you were going to keep bursting balloons, and that was it. And then, it was amazing,” he said, throwing his hands up in astonishment. “I actually think this is a great Act.”

Terry Crews summed it up when he said, “Miracles do happen.”

Catch new episodes of America's Got Talent Tuesdays on NBC. Catch up on past episodes on Peacock