The AGT judges and audience were in for a treat as Big Brother veteran Farmer Dave took the stage.
The former reality star auditioned for the talent show alongside students on his program RuffTrack, which aims to “keep kids alive, get out of prison and be qualified for a secure future.”
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Farmer Dave and RuffTrack students impress the judges.
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As part of the program, the children are given a dog to befriend and must learn responsibility, care and communication for their pet.
When Dave took the AGT stage, Australian judges Kate Ritchie and Shane Jacobson – along with the audience – recognized him immediately.
British judges David Walliams and Alesha Dixon were puzzled as to why the show was so acclaimed by audiences, leading Dave to explain that he had appeared on several reality shows.
“From Dancing with the Stars to Big Brother twice,” he said.
“I’m sure you’ve never done anything like this,” Kate told him, while Dave agreed, “No, it’s different.”
Explaining his act, Dave said: “Okay, I’m a youth worker.
“So I run a pretty unique program that uses dogs to transform kids and we do it paw by paw.
“The children come to us through the police, the juvenile justice system and schools, which just can’t keep them busy.”
The goal of the organization is to “break all the cycles that have brought them to this position” and build a solid career through skill development.
Dave said all of this can come from building “kindness, compassion and trust” with a dog.
He performed on the AGT stage with some of the guys from RuffTracks, something he said “means everything”.
The reality star and the kids introduced her talent for the storyline — a dog named Jimmy, who Dave says was trained “through kindness.”
“[Jimmy is our]number one therapy dog, and that’s what we’re doing with these kids,” Dave said in reference to the kids standing next to him.
“They come to us vulnerable and end up like the kids you see on stage right now — kids who have absolutely changed their lives.”
As the music started, Jimmy started jumping off a series of boards – directed by a kid named Ashton, as told by Dave.
“We’re running and we’re speeding, make some noise for Jimmy,” he said before congratulating Ashton, who was helping Jimmy through the stunt.
Next, the dog had to run along a narrow beam – led by a kid named Dakota.
“Now it’s going to be very, very slow and steady here, it’s dangerous,” said Dave.
“It’s a long way down for this little tiny dog.”
After Jimmy reached the end of this stunt, the animal reached his next challenge – a series of hoops he had to climb through, guided by a student named Brockie.
“Right, a young Brockie here,” Dave began.
“Now when he came to our program, he couldn’t speak. He used to have several people who helped him at school just with reading and writing.
“Now he has an education, he goes to TAFE, he has completely changed his life and you cannot shut him up.
“Give it up for Brockie!”
The crowd applauded when the stunt was completed.
A student named Harley then took over, directing the dog over a series of half yoga balls – jumping from one to the next.
For the grand finale, the students lined up with the first crouching down until the last student was almost standing.
This positioning created a kind of bridge that allowed the dog to hop from one back to the next until Jimmy got to the top.
“Oh my god, well done,” Kate said when the number ended.
“When the performance started, I was concerned that I hadn’t asked enough about the children standing next to you, but then we found out all about their wonderful journey.
“So thank you, and thank you for being up here tonight.”
Shane said, “It’s so much more than just the storyline, it’s like knowing what you’re doing.
“That’s the joy of what we’re seeing and well done telling some of the stories as it went.
“So, as far as I know, it was the dog that carried out the action… the work that went on behind the scenes is what’s most impressive.
“Well done everyone, what a journey.”
Alesha shared that she has rescue dogs and grew up around dogs, adding that she knows “how special they are” and that they “bring healing into people’s lives.”
“I love what you do, I love what this represents, that we all have a chance to start fresh and deserve a chance in life and improve our lives no matter what our circumstances are,” she said.
“So I absolutely loved it.”
Next came David Walliams, who couldn’t help but make a cheeky remark to Dave.
“Have you ever considered taking a 50-year-old comedian out of camp under your wing and turning his life around?” he asked, referring to himself.
“You can join us any day,” Dave laughed, adding that there are “plenty of mornings to frolic”.
“Yeah, because you’re kind of reckless,” joked David.
“It was very, very charming and it’s wonderful what these kids have.
“You gave them a fresh start in life, so I applaud you for that.
“And I’ll google you guys when I get home – ‘Farmer Dave, topless pics,'” he joked, before giving the group the first of the judges’ four yes votes.
AGT airs Sundays at 7pm and Mondays at 7.30pm on Channel 7 and 7plus
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