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How Howie Mandel's Bald Head Helped Shadow Ace Pull Off His "Genius" Act

The contestants and judges are going all out to compete in America's Got Talent: Fantasy League, which features the return of Shadow Ace.

By Grace Jidoun

After 18 seasons of jaw-dropping performances, could America’s Got Talent raise the bar even higher? Our favorite competition series is back with a thrilling new format with America's Got Talent: Fantasy League where the Judges hand-pick their Dream Teams from hundreds of former Got Talent acts and mentor them to success, with the audience picking who will move forward. The first episode, which premieres on Jan 1, goes from magic to acrobatics before tipping into “wait, is Howie Mandel’s bald head being used as a drum?” territory.

How to Watch

Watch America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League on NBC and Peacock.

And thanks to an early sneak peek of the premiere, we have a look at a “genius” performance by Shadow Ace. He demonstrates the artistry of shadow puppetry in large format (utilizing the silhouette of Howie’s famously bald head!).

RELATED: Howie Mandel's Daughter & Granddaughter Dance Just Like Him in New Family Video

When it came time for Shadow Ace to show off how much his skills have progressed since the last time America's Got Talent fans saw him, Howie’s mentoring skills were on full display — as well as his famously bald head.

Who is Shadow Ace?

The Season 18 Semi-Finalist — and Beyoncé super fan — has taken the art of shadow puppetry to new heights. Growing up in the Philippines, his home didn’t have electricity, so the 24-year-old (real name Philip Jose P. Galit) turned to shadow play to pass the time, using the reflection of candlelight to create figures on the wall.

Shadow Ace makes shadow puppets on America's Got Talent: Fantasy League Episode 101

Word spread in his hometown about his unusual talents, and he went on to win many local awards and competitions, but he had his sights set on bigger things. According to his official AGT bio, he wanted to compete on the show's stage to “fulfill his two goals in life: to revive a lost art and to meet Beyoncé.”

Though he placed third on America’s Got Talent, he was “the most viral act of last season, with a quarter of a billion views,” according to Howie. He certainly fulfilled one goal (no word yet on meeting Beyoncé).


RELATED: How AGT: Fantasy League Works — and the Twist You Won't See Coming

What is Shadow Ace doing now?

Shadow Ace on stage during America's Got Talent: Fantasy League Episode 101

When Shadow Ace invited Howie Mandel onto the AGT: Fantasy League stage to be a part of his performance, we sensed something crazy was about to happen. Sure enough, the young artist surprised everyone when he created a shadowy image of 80’s rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot, and the silhouette of Howie's bald head stood in for a mic during the opening line of “Baby Got Back.”

He deftly turned Howie’s head into a drum and then a dance floor during Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” before finally playing his head like a piano during Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles.” The judges were unanimous in their glowing reviews; Mel B, who could not stop laughing, said, “You brought me so much joy. Just bashing on Howie’s head over and over.” 

Simon described the shadow puppetry as “genius,” and Heidi predicted his half-a-billion views might double after this epic performance.

After coming in third place in Season 18, Shadow Ace felt some disappointment and stepped out of the limelight for a little bit to regain his confidence, which he more than did with his triumphant return to the stage on America's Got Talent: Fantasy League.

We could not agree more with host Terry Crews when he said, “Shadow Ace is out of the shadow!”

Tune into America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League on Jan. 1 at 8/7c on NBC.