February 23, 2024

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Las Vegas’ Cage Riders zip to ‘AGT: Extreme’ championship

The act that won the first “America’s Got Talent: Extreme” championship is performed in a sphere. That’s appropriate, given all the circuitous relationships spinning around Alfredo Silva’s Cage Riders.

To start, Silva co-stars with his fiance and performance artist Aleksandra Kiedrowicz in Deadly Games. The danger act is now featured at Luxor’s “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live.” An earlier version of the Deadly Games was a semifinalist on season 11 of “AGT” in 2016.

Silva has now spun across the original “AGT,” the new “AGT: Extreme,” and also the production show on the Strip.

Silva wears what is now a familiar blond Mohawk. He was easy to spot at the epicenter of the Cage Riders’ “AGT: Extreme” finale watch party Monday night at PT’s Gold on West Warm Springs Road. Regular customers were agog as the circus rolled into the venue, for real, firing confetti and posing for photos with Vegas showgirls Rebecca O’Hara and Ashton Brea on a quickly assembled red carpet.

In the finale, Deadly Games beat out popular stunt performer Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, the show’s runner-up. Fotheringham has been in a wheelhair since age 8 after suffering from spinal bifida, and gamely attempted to land two high-flying flip numbers. Fotheringham, too, lives in Vegas and tours with “AGT: Extreme” judge and motorcycle superstar Travis Pastrana.

Silva is a sixth-generation circus performer from Brazil who has juggled fire, thrown knives and zipped around the caged globe since he was a child. Silva was the assigned team leader for Cage Riders, as the show tapped into his previous appearance in the “AGT” franchise.

“I feel very honored to be able to represent my class, the circus class,” a grinning Silva said between red-carpet pics. “I feel the show gives us the opportunity to be noticed. I really feel that ‘AGT’ is the only one — and big thanks to Simon Cowell — to celebrate us. I feel that there is almost discrimination against a circus, to be honest, and I want to be an ambassador to support the performing arts.”

The NBC series and its accompanying Luxor production have shed a deserved spotlight on circus-stunt performers. This was especially true in the “Extreme” format. The Cage Riders’ colaborators are veteran stunt performer and builder John Stotts, and BMX icon Gary Laurent. Those two met in the mid-1980s at “Splash” at the Riviera. ‘

Stotts had actually performed in what was then called the Globe Of Death, a title NBC would not accept, as it specifies “death.” Laurent performed bike stunts in the half-pipe of the groundbreaking show.

Expanding the family, Laurent’s wife, name of Christie Copeland in her performing days, was the main singer in “Jubilee!” in the early 2000s and also was featured in “Marriage Can Be Murder” for a dozen years. And Silva’s brother, Alan Silva, was a finalist with his aerial act in “AGT” in 2020. Alan Silva was an aerial performer in “Zumanity” and also hosted and has also performed in “Big Apple Circus” in New York.

Much of the act’s history encircles “Splash.” There is even a multi-generational connection between that show and the Cage Riders. One of the original cast members of “Splash” was the late Sonny Tipton, a famous stunt performer. His son, Wyatt Tipton, was brought in to perform with Cage Riders for Monday’s finale.

The Cage Riders didn’t realize they were hiring Sonny’s son.

“He said his name, and I’m like, ‘Wow, we had a Sonny Tipton in ‘Splash’ back in the day,’” Stotts said. “And he says, ‘Yeah, that was my father.’ Unbelievable.”

The team also featured a street bike performer and member of “Chippendales” at the Rio, Zach Scirone. Freestyle motocross riders Wilson Zuluaga Bonilla, Alex Cervantes, Colby Gort and Jose Davila joined street bike stunt performers Tipton and Scirone on the Cage Riders’ championship team.

The team was awarded $500,000 in prize money, which is being invested into the act’s future. What that would be is unclear.

“This just happened and we haven’t been able to promote it or post about it,” Stotts said. “It’s tough to tour, because Alfredo is contracted at the Luxor.”

Ah, but the pyramid might present an opportunity. “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas Live” rotates many distinctive “AGT” alumni, especially those who adapt well to the live format. The three Cage Riders live in Las Vegas, and the globe itself has a long history on the Strip. The famous metal sphere would fit well, in spirit and in fact, on that stage.

Great Moments in Social Media

Harrah’s Showroom headliner Donny Osmond and his wife, Debbie, have bought a second home in VegasVille. This comes 14 years after Osmond opened “Donny & Marie” with his sister, Marie Osmond, at the Flamingo. The couple posted a clip in Instagram, stopping for gas with a U-Haul trailer visible in the rear window.

“We feel like newlyweds again!” Donny said. Debbie added, “Utah is our home-home. This will be our little second home.”

Cool Hang Alert

Tom Jones has not played Vegas in ages, but Vegas tribute artist Steve McCoy has kept up the “Delilah” singalongs. McCoy is back Sunday at Italian American Club, doors at 6 p.m., buffet at 6:30-7:30, show at 8 p.m. Price for all of it is $65. Hit iacvegas.com to see what’s new, pussycat.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.