Last year, Mumbai-based V Unbeatable got the golden buzzer from guest judge Dwyane Wade and secured the fourth place at America’s Got Talent. This year, the talented dance crew are the winners of the second season of America’s Got Talent: The Champions. The announcement was made last week.
Congratulating the group for their victory, a post on the official page of America’s Got Talent read: “Give it up for your new #AGTChampion winners, @v_unbeatable.” Many Bollywood celebrities too congratulated the champs for their phenomenal performance and big win.
The 30-member dance crew, who vowed AGT: The Champions 2 judges Howie Mandel, Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum and Alesha Dixon with their final act, received a standing ovation. They competed against flying trapeze act, Duo Transcend, who finished in second place.
An excited Om Prakash Chauhan, who founded the group with the late Vikas Gupta, says that the team wasn’t really confident about winning the reality show. “It’s a huge talent show with participants from more than 40 countries. They had diverse talents, so just being a part of the show was such a big achievement for us. If we would have stood second or third, still it would have been a big thing for us because the show was about champions of America’s Got Talent,” says Chauhan. But the kids were confident that they would reach the finals.
For their final act, the crew teamed up with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. Chauhan says that they worked very hard on their act for months, which required a lot of coordination. “When we got invited for America’s Got Talent and we stood fourth, we had lost on a big dream of ours. Winning that show would have meant getting our life and career on track because it’s a big show. Despite a lot of hard work, we lost. We work very hard on every move and stunt, which is a huge risk, and we are always concerned about our dance crew’s safety making sure the kids don’t get hurt,” says Chauhan, adding that after winning the show they have been getting mails and congratulatory messages and calls from across the world.
Chauhan is glad that the makers of AGT and the audience recognised their talent. “In the first round, we got a golden buzzer and in the second, we got a chance to reach the finals directly,” he says.
“We thought the judges would be strict and performing in front of them would be intimidating but the comments they shared after watching our performance were so encouraging. Howie sir used to say, ‘I am judging for the last 15 years but I haven’t seen such a dance group and performance’,” Chauhan adds.
It’s not only a proud moment but an emotional journey too for the crew, who were also one of the finalists on Star Plus’ Dance Plus. Chauhan lost his dear friend and co-founder of the group, Vikas, six years back while performing a stunt during a show.
“We feel like crying when giving interviews or performing,” says Chauhan, adding, “I miss Vikas a lot. A dear friend, he had given me a lot in life. He stood by me and loved me exactly the way my parents did when I was living alone in Mumbai.”
Before every performance, the crew remembers Vikas and wish he was with them.
Fulfilling their dreams
Chauhan says that winning the show has made them realise that they can achieve all their dreams. Right now, his next big dream is to build a dance studio for the crew. “The first thing I want to do is build the studio, where we will teach our kids different dance styles, moves and make our style popular across the world so that more people learn it. We want to send a few of our kids to other countries for workshops so that they share our style with others,” says Chauhan.
The kids come from a humble background and many are financially supporting their family. “They should also be able to earn while they dance, which is why we have been doing reality shows for the past couple of years. Whatever we earn through our performances or the prize money we receive, we divide it equally amongst us and send the money to the children’s families on a monthly basis,” he shares, adding, “I keep telling them to continue their studies and I also want all the 30 kids to make a career in dance. We recently performed at a film award ceremony, did a live show in Las Vegas and also performed for a festival in Hong Kong. We are doing a lot of shows.”
Now many know that a biopic based on the struggles and journey of the crew is being planned but Chauhan refuses to divulge details about it now.
Ask him how forthcoming are parents now to let their child make a career in dance when compared to the past and he says that parents are more positive now.
“When we were participating for Dance Plus, I had a tough time convincing the parents. Each one of them cited some problem or the other. They kept saying, ‘There is no career in dance and it’s a waste of time’. I used to tell them that I will help them make a career. I just wanted them to trust me,” says Chauhan, who himself comes from a humble background.
But he is happy now that parents are supporting him and thanking him for taking their kids to such great platforms. “I just want to fulfill every dream of Vikas,” says Chauhan before signing off.