America's Got Talent Wiki

The Passing Zone, also known as Jon & Owen - The Passing Zone, was a juggling duo from Season 1 and Season 11 of America's Got Talent. In Season 1, they finished in the Bottom 5 (of the Top 10). A decade later, they returned to the show in Season 11, where they were eliminated in the Quarterfinals. The duo was then chosen as a Wild Card in the Semifinals, where they were eliminated again.


Owen Morse and Jon Wee met in 1986 at a juggling convention and instantly knew they were destined to be a team. But they decided to graduate from college first. Rather than pursue careers in Economics and Psychology, they lit some torches and started throwing stuff into the air. Two weeks after their first performance together, they won the Silver Medal at the International Juggler's Association Teams Competition. The next year they won the Gold.

That recognition earned an invitation to appear at the Comedy and Magic Club in Los Angeles, where on their first night they were approached by The Tonight Show talent scout and booked for their first national television appearance in September 1990. Johnny Carson enjoyed them so much they were asked back less than a year later. Their first feature film followed, The Addams Family Movie, where Jon and Owen doubled for Gomez (Raul Julia) and Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) in the climactic Mamushka dagger-passing scene. More recently, they appeared in the award-winning comedy documentary, The Aristocrats.

Jon and Owen are known as much for their comedy as their juggling skills. They were featured twice on the gala stage at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and have opened for comedians Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Bob Newhart, Bob Hope and Penn & Teller. Television appearances have included Comic Strip Live, An Evening at The Improv, MADtv, Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular, Steve Harvey's Big Time and regular returns to NBC's Today. And they were commentators on ESPN for their coverage of the World Juggling Federation competitions. [1]

Season 1 Audition[]

The Passing Zone's audition in Episode 103 consisted of pretending to be hit by a bowling ball and then juggling six flaming torches while Jon stood on Owen's shoulders while Owen stood on a rolla bolla. Although David Hasselhoff voted "No," Piers Morgan and Brandy Norwood both voted "Yes," sending the duo to the Semifinals.

Season 1 Semifinals[]

Jon & Owen - The Passing Zone's Week 3 Semifinals performance in Episode 110 consisted of "juggling" three studio audience members wearing astronaut suits suspended in the air. Piers MorganBrandy Norwood, and David Hasselhoff all gave the duo "✓" votes. The judges chose Jon & Owen as their Week 4 pick to move onto the Finals without being voted on by America.

Season 1 Finals[]

Before their performance, Jon & Owen - The Passing Zone were guided by celebrity coach Penn & Teller. Jon & Owen's Finals performance in Episode 114 consisted of juggling sickles toward each other as David Hasselhoff (unwillingly) stood between with six flaming torches attached to a helmet on his head and four plates balancing on two sticks held in his hands. The duo then juggled three chainsaws. Piers Morgan, Brandy Norwood, and David Hasselhoff all gave Jon & Owen "✓" votes.

Season 1 Finale[]

At the finale, Jon & Owen - The Passing Zone was eliminated from the competition in Episode 115 after it was revealed that it finished the competition in the Bottom 5 of the Top 10.

After Season 1[]

The Passing Zone's corporate career really took off after a national Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) event in Atlanta, which was quickly followed by other MDRTs in Chicago and Singapore. After main stage appearances at Meeting Professionals International (MPI), the National Speakers Association, YPO, ICPA and others, the industry took notice, and they've been off and running ever since. Clients such as eBay, Firestone, Old Navy, Microsoft, IBM, Kodak and IASB have brought Jon and Owen to their events to liven things up and motivate their people. The London Business Forum recently enlisted The Passing Zone and it was one of their highest-rated events ever.

Jon and Owen have published articles on Teamwork, Work-Life Balance and Taking Risks in countless industry periodicals including Business People, Special Events, Smart Meetings, Networking Times, Financial Executives, Successful Meetings, Home Business and many more. They were chosen as a Best Bet for entertainment by The Wall Street Journal and Special Events magazine named them one of the Hottest 26 Speakers.

The Passing Zone have been awarded five Guinness World Records and 18 Gold Medals from the International Juggler's Association. They were recently presented with that organization's Award of Excellence, for "excellence in the art of juggling through professional performance," which is the most prestigious award in juggling (essentially the Juggling Hall of Fame), given to only thirteen acts worldwide.

In addition to their corporate appearances, The Passing Zone can be seen performing their full evening show titled Gravity Attacks! in theaters and performing arts centers nationwide. [2]

Season 11 Audition[]

Jon & Owen - The Passing Zone returned in Season 11 as simply, The Passing Zone. The Passing Zone's audition in Episode 1106 consisted of first inviting Howie Mandel to the stage. As Howie lay on a yoga mat, Owen juggled a 500,000 volt taser, a mousetrap, and a flaming plunger over Howie's face (wearing safety goggles). Then, Jon hopped over Owen's back and took over the juggling. Howie did not officially vote (although he hit the buzzer when Simon implied he should be a part of all their next performances), but Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Simon Cowell all voted "Yes," sending the duo to the Judge Cuts.

Season 11 Judge Cuts[]

The Passing Zone's Judge Cuts performance in Episode 1107 consisted of inviting Mel B and Howie Mandel to the stage. As Mel B hung on a pendulum with an upside-down Jon juggling balls, Howie sat above a dunk tank. A blindfolded Owen threw, with Jon's signaling, knives toward a target until Howie was dunked. The Passing Zone's performance was strong enough for the judges to send the duo to the Quarterfinals instead of Jon Call and Philippe and Marie-Lee.

Season 11 Quarterfinals[]

The Passing Zone's Week 3 Quarterfinals performance in Episode 1115 consisted of juggling three of the judges dressed as astronauts (Howie Mandel, Mel B, and Heidi Klum) wearing astronaut suits suspended in the air around in a circular motion. The performance was a reprisal of their Season 1 Semifinals act. Howie was purposefully left suspended during the judging as part of a running gag of being abused by the act. The Passing Zone did not receive enough votes to be sent to the Semifinals in Episode 1116, eliminating the duo from the competition instead of Blake Vogt. In Episode 1118, Howie announced that The Passing Zone would return as the judges' wild card act, reinstating them in the Semifinals.

Season 11 Semifinals[]

The Passing Zone's Week 2 Semifinals performance in Episode 1119 consisted of of juggling torches toward each other as Simon Cowell unwillingly stood between with six flaming torches attached to a helmet on his head and four plates balancing on two devil's pitchforks held in his hands. Howie Mandel, Mel B, and Heidi Klum gave the duo standing ovations. The Passing Zone did not receive enough votes to be sent to the Finals in Episode 1120, eliminating the duo from the competition along with Kadan Bart Rockett, instead of The Clairvoyants.

After Season 11[]

  • Later in 2016 the duo appeared on the third season of the Italian competition series Tu Si Que Vales in which they reached the Finals. [3]
  • The Passing Zone appeared on Penn & Teller: Fool Us in 2019.  They did not fool the duo.

External Links[]