Jon Dorenbos: ‘America’s Got Talent’s Real Life Superhero

Justin Jenkins
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Popular America’s Got Talent contestant, Jon Dorenbos, created his own second act. His one of a kind career includes playing 11 seasons in the NFL and dominating Season 11 of the talent competition show with his magic. When he first walked into his audition viewers did not know what to expect. Before his act was finished, the judges as well as the audience were amazed.


Magic truly saved Jon’s life. Although he played for NFL teams such as the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, and the Philadelphia Eagles, magic was one of his first loves. Jon found comfort in magic after his father was convicted of killing his mother when he was 12 years old.

Jon’s love for magic helped him when he needed it the most. His audition consisted of him performing a card trick in which he used different ways in revealing cards numbered in order from ace to king. The magician then sorted all of the cards into their four different suits, before revealing a card Simon Cowell chose. He received yeses from all four judges.

We watched Jon advance week after week throughout his season of America’s Got Talent in 2016. During the Judge Cuts Howie Mendel gave Jon a standing ovation. Guest judge Ne-Yo used his Golden Buzzer to send Jon straight to the quarterfinals.


Jon made it all the way to the finals and finished in third place. His America’s Got Talent success was in rearview when it was time for the 2017 season of the NFL. Unfortunately life threw Jon a curveball.

Jon Dorenbos’s Second Act

In August of 2017 Jon was ready for another season on the field, this time with the New Orleans Saints. By the time September of the same year came around, Jon was diagnosed with aortic aneurysm, which required immediate heart surgery. He was placed on the non-football illness list by the Saints the same day, and released with an injury settlement on September 9 before retiring.

Because of magic Jon’s career continued once he recovered. In 2019 he competed on America’s Got Talent: Champions. With new tricks and stories, Jon made it to the finals thanks to a wildcard pick. He finished in the Top 12. On the show Jon announced that he was expecting a child with his wife, Annalise. Jon also received a Super Bowl ring after his former team, the Eagles, won the championship.


Jon has taken tragedy and his love for magic and has turned it into a truly inspiring career. He has gone on to make multiple appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres show. It was on Ellen that he announced that he was having a baby girl. DeGeneres was so impressed by Jon and his story that she enlisted him to host her Let Me In So You Can Win game show.

Even with all of his accomplishments, Jon is still a real life hero. Just last month, the former footballer saved the life of a woman who caught on fire.

Jon is also a well sought after speaker. He infuses his magic act with inspiring messages for conferences, business retreats, and other Fortune 500 events. The magician speaks on forgiveness, overcoming obstacles, leadership, and accountability. Jon also has released a book. “Life is Magic,” tells the story of his tragic past and bright future. The book was recently optioned as a feature film.

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