Apple genius: Bizarre 'America’s Got Talent' comic is familiar face in disguise

There’s an old saying that one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. But one rotten-to-the-core comedian named the Big Apple actually stole the show on America’s Got Talent this week, when he wormed his way onto the stage and — spoiler alert! — was revealed to be a familiar fan favorite.

Looking like the wall-crashing Kool-Aid Man and making just as unsubtle an entrance Tuesday, in the night’s final audition slot, the Big Apple quickly racked up four McIntosh-red X’s from the crabapple judging panel with his sour one-liners. It was then that the novelty contestant’s sphere-shaped costume cracked open, revealing the man-sized worm within. Amused judge Howie Mandel instantly recognized the creepy-crawly contestant, as did one apparent AGT superfan in the live audience, who delightedly shouted, “It’s Sethward! This guy dresses up as things, and he’s been on three seasons!”

Sethward — for you more casual, understandably confused AGT viewers reading this — is absurdist prop comic Seth Allison, who in past AGT seasons has dressed up as a crazy caterpillar, jerky giraffe, and wacky walrus. He’s also unsuccessfully auditioned for Slovakia's Got Talent in chicken and snake costumes, and in various animal disguises on the recent Gong Show reboot. On last year’s America’s Got Talent Season 16 premiere, Sethward actually made it through to the quarterfinals, despite getting a red X from Simon Cowell before he’d even started performing, by dressing up as a wardrobe-malfunctioning NBC peacock — although he was quickly eliminated in the first live show, of course.

This year, however, Sethward was back to being forbidden fruit, and he was forbidden from advancing to Season 17’s next round. After the professional troller attempted to do the Worm dance with host Terry Crews, he once again “accidentally” exposed himself — as he’s done every season, in every costume — when his manic floor-flailing caused his felt insect outfit to split at the crotch. Obviously NBC’s powers-that-be have gotten used to Sethward’s indecent-exposure shtick by now, because they creatively employed a fruit-shaped censor bar to conceal his, um, twig and berries.

And so, this bad apple rolled offstage in disgrace. I’m sure he’ll be back next season... unless his latest AGT stunt has made him famous enough to finally graduate to The Masked Singer. (Let’s face it, this Apple genius would really be perfect for that cosplaying competition.)

This week’s America’s Got Talent episode did feature some serious talent, including singer-songwriters Debii Dawson and Ava Swiss, award-winning teen dance duo Ciara Hines & Trey Rich, and genuinely funny stand-up comic Don McMillan, a former Star Search champion. But will any of them make as lasting impression as Sethward? Clearly this guy is still the apple of AGT’s eye… and after all these years, he still has a-peel.

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