Creepy Marionette Dancer Leaves ‘AGT’ Judges Speechless: “You’re Gonna Freak a Lot of Little Children Out!”

A surprise contestant pranked the judges last night (July 20) on America’s Got Talent, showing off some masterful puppetry — and plenty of creepiness. Pasha, a native of Moscow, Russia auditioning for the show, entered with bad news: he was down one person while attempting to audition for the NBC game show.

“I’m an entertainer, but I would also like to invest in real estate just in case,” Pasha said, introducing himself with a joke. “My wife and I, we perform together. Unfortunately, she couldn’t be here tonight. She missed her flight. I’m really in a jam. I’m trying to figure out what to do.”

Judge Howie Mandel clarified that Pasha’s act was for two people, and the performer responded that it was. When the judges asked why Pasha’s wife wasn’t on the same flight, he explained the situation in detail: she was visiting her mother in San Francisco, while he was flying from Missouri.

“Oh my God,” Mandel exclaimed. “This is the ultimate ‘the show must go on.’ Have you ever done this by yourself?”

Pasha said no, he had never done this act alone before, and that he was “very worried” — still, he readied himself to wow the judges with hope in his eyes. As the contestant dashed off stage to prepare, the judges took one last minute to pity Pasha’s misfortune. Little did they know: the whole thing was actually a ruse.

Host Terry Crews wheeled Pasha (or rather, a creepy doll version of Pasha) back on stage with an even creepier animatronic of his wife. Say what? As the Russian string music began, the judges all had shocked reactions to Pasha’s little white lie. The dance featured spine-cracking moves and contortion beyond belief, dipping into the uncanny valley as the dancer’s clay smiles stayed plastered to their faces.

The marionette dance, which ended with Pasha revealing himself as the person behind both the man and woman dancer, earned a standing ovation from all four judges. “I love it!” Sofia Vergara enthused. “That was so surprising! I’ve never seen anything like that in my life!”

Mandel also chimed in, sharing that “If people just tuned in, you’re gonna freak a lot of little children out!”

And even Simon Cowell, who’s truly seen it all via his numerous game show judging gigs, couldn’t even hide his surprise. “You got us, didn’t you?” he said. “We were all thinking, ‘This is going to be terrible,’ but actually, it was great! It was a great surprise. We love to be surprised, and that’s what you just did. And that’s why you’ve got four yeses.”

So, Pasha’s surprise act was a success — but does that mean his real wife Ailona will show up for the next round of judging? Maybe the master marionette-ist doesn’t need her after all.

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8/7 on NBC. Watch Pasha’s full performance in the video above.

Where to watch America’s Got Talent

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