Poor Sofia Vergara. The “America’s Got Talent” star recently came close to eating brawn. Never heard of it? That’s meat from a calf’s head or pig’s head pressed in a pot with jelly.
The actress, who has netted Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG nominations, is part of the all-star judging panel on the hit competition show. She is also a global entrepreneur who has partnered with micro-lending website Kiva on a Global COVID-19 Response Fund. So why is it always her in the hot seat?, Vergara wanted to know.
Here’s what happened. Tuesday’s episode of the show featured a mentalist. And he had judge Simon Cowell guess which of four cans brought out on the stage had pineapples in it. The rest contained brawn, according to the Daily Mail.
The mentalist, Peter Antoniou, then told Vergara to don a blindfold and take a fork to the can Cowell had picked and eat what it contained.
‘America’s Got Talent’ Judge Had Trouble Picking a Can
When it came time to pick a can, Cowell vacillated, changing his mind repeatedly right up until the last second.
“I don’t understand why it always has to be me,” Vergara complained right before she stuck the fork in her mouth.
Fortunately for her, her “America’s Got Talent” colleague did, in fact, pick the can full of pineapple.
Howie Mandel pronounced the mentalist’s act “unbelievable,” and Heidi Klum was also impressed.
What Is a Mentalist?
A mentalist is a magician who performs acts that appear to demonstrate uncanny intuitive abilities, such as mind-reading. Some well-known mentalists include The Amazing Kreskin, Richard Osterlind, David Berglas, Derren Brown and Joseph Dunninger. And now “America’s Got Talent” is introducing the country to a new practitioner.
Mentalists are not without their detractors. Some of the latter, such as James Randi, have launched careers debunking the psychic achievements of mentalists and their ilk.
“The ability for people to think in a medieval fashion never ceases to amaze me,” Randi told the Los Angeles Times in 1991. “I feel kind of sad. I shouldn’t have to tell people the world isn’t square.”
Randi has taken aim at astrologers, clairvoyants, mentalists and spiritualists alike. He co-founded the Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) in 1976. He worked as a freelance psychic debunker for awhile And he later went on to win a MacArthur “genius” grant for his efforts.
Skeptics like Randi have faced antagonism and even lawsuits for their debunking of mentalist feats, which they maintain – with some evidence to back them up – rely on tricks and cannot be done in controlled environments.
For example, Randi worked with the producers of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” to install some controls on the set before a mentalist was set to perform there, per the Chicago Sun-Times. As a result, the mentalist was unable to perform the tasks as advertised.
“America’s Got Talent” is a long way from Johnny Carson’s show, and Antoniou appears to have found a receptive if not gullible audience among its judges. But that has made for some entertaining – not to mention some gross-out – moments for audiences.