A Livermore acrobat proves America’s Got Talent in the East Bay.
If you watched the most recent season of America’s Got Talent, chances are you saw Livermore’s Ani Smith flip and twist into the finale as a member of AcroArmy. Diablo sat down with 16-year-old Smith to talk about performing on television, crazy stunts, and what goes on behind the scenes.
Q: How did you first get involved with acrobatics?
A: I was eight years old when I saw acrobatics at a gym, and I knew I had to try it. It was almost like love at first sight.
Q: Sadly, we’re not all experts on the sport. What exactly is it?
A: There are three main components: static balancing, dynamic moves (the tosses, throws, spins, and flips), and a combination of the two. I’m a flyer, which means I’m the one up in the air, and work very closely with my base.
Q: How did it feel to perform on TV?
A: I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous to perform before. I didn’t see the crowd; I didn’t see the judges. I just focused on what I was doing. The judges afterward were even more nerve racking.
Q: Speaking of judges, Howie Mandel has been pretty open about his fear of germs. Did you shake his hand?
A: [Laughs] He was actually coming off the red carpet, and I shook his hand. He even let me touch his head!
Q: Tell us something about the show that viewers might not know.
A: The show goes so smoothly on television, but it’s chaos to put it together.
Q: When did you realize that you had a shot at making the finale?
A: After the Immortals semifinals routine, our social media exploded.
Q: We loved AcroArmy’s final performance to Fall Out Boy’s “My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark.”
A: That one was our best. It was the most dynamic, powerful, and fun to perform. I had the chance to do my favorite skill, “the swing.” Our choreographers created it in such a short time.
Q: Has your life changed since being on the show? Do people recognize you?
A: Yeah, somewhat. You do have a credential for future reference if you’re looking for a job. Also, I have more Instagram followers! [Laughs]