Tape Face: ‘America’s Got Talent’s Most Polarizing Act

Justin Jenkins
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NBC

Tape Face was a contestant on America’s Got Talent in Season 11. His mime act took him all the way to the Top 10, but he was eliminated in the bottom five. His performances were weird. Tape Face was able to pull the audience in as we all tried to figure out what was happening. The performer left a lasting impression years after he first made us figure out why we were laughing.


Tape Face, whose real name is Sam Wills, is from New Zealand. He began his performing career locally and eventually developed his hit show as a character called The Boy with Tape on his Face. The performer then started to attract attention from all around the world, before walking on to the America’s Got Talent stage. He was known as the man who performed with duct tape over his mouth who could still make people laugh. His popularity grew, and he took his show on the road, performing in London and Las Vegas.

Fans remember Tape Face as a performer who was able to turn up the humor from the simplest things. After all, he did train to be a clown when he was 13 years old. Tape Face was a stand-up comedian. He played on the viewers love for music to help elevate his performances, and when he did make it onto America’s Got Talent, he received 4 yeses.

Tape Face’s audition consisted of him wearing two oven mitts with eyes as puppets singing along to Diana Ross & Lionel Richie’s “Endless Love.” He then playfully caressed himself wearing a half red dress to Chris de Burgh’s “Lady in Red.” The judges did not know what to expect, but safe to say that they were pleasantly surprised. Judge Howie Mendel even called him “Brilliant.”


Tape Face’s Rise to Superstardom

The judges and viewers fell in love with Tape Face. The performer was able to make an audience laugh, without saying a word. There were other fans who didn’t understand how he was able to stay in the competition. America’s Got Talent fans were divided, and both sides expressed their feelings on social media.

Fans credited Tape Face for reviving silent film acting, using his facial expressions and body movements to lure them in. The ups and downs of the entertainment industry showed when the same year that Tape Face did not win America’s Got Talent, he won the International Achievement Award from the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand. Tape Face created a career that others simply could not understand. A contestant on a Brazilian talent show actually copied his act, hoping for lighting to strike twice.

In 2016 Tape Face appeared in a three-night concert series at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. He joined America’s Got Talent Season 11 winner Grace VanderWaal and runner-up The Clairvoyants. He also appeared on America’s Got Talent: The Champions but he was eliminated quickly.


Vegas came back knocking in 2018 when they offered Tape Face a three year residency deal. His new show takes place at Harrah’s Las Vegas. The venue custom built a room just for Tape Face and named it The House of Tape. The entertainer keeps the performances fun by making the show interactive with the audience. His show recently began again after making it through the pandemic. Fans have expressed outrage as Tape Face’s busy schedule at times means he has to use a doppelgänger to perform. Attendees have noticed, but the show remains a hit. Even though he lost, Tape Face has worked his way up to a net worth of close to $3 million.

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