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America's Got Talent: Tape Face mime stuns with puppets

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Without saying a word at all, a contestant on America’s Got Talent has people talking.

“I’m a little afraid now — I don’t know what’s gonna happen,” says a woman in the audience of the NBC talent show’s season premiere Tuesday. The heightened drama comes courtesy of a mime whose mouth is covered in duct tape and wide-open eyes are framed by black makeup.

With everyone looking confused, Lionel Richie and Diana Ross’ classic duet “Endless Love” comes on while the mime uses kitchen mitts as puppets to lip sync the lyrics — a gimmick that puts a smile on new judge Simon Cowell’s face.

Laughter erupts from the audience as the mime looks alarmed and annoyed with the puppets’ romantic sentiment. Then he turns things up a notch with Chris De Burgh’s “Lady in Red,” slipping into half of a dress so that he can dance and caress himself.

“Brilliant!” shouts judge Howie Mandel. A lot of people agree — by Wednesday morning, the clip was blowing up on Reddit and had garnered nearly 400,000 views.

Check it out below. America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.