America’s Got Talent contestant, Country singer, Timothy Michael Poe
An America’s Got Talent contestant, who has become an instant celebrity after telling of how he was wounded while serving in Afghanistan, is facing claims that he made the story up, reports Sky News.
Country singer Timothy Michael Poe, 35, is vying for a place in the last 48 of the American version of the talent television show.
Earlier this week, viewers saw Poe tell judges Howie Mandel, Howard Stern and Sharon Osbourne that he spent 14 years in the military and suffered a broken back and brain injury when he was hit by a grenade in 2009.
In a pre-recorded interview he said: “I had volunteered for a team to go out and clear buildings and help out with the wounded.
“There was a guy who comes up with a rocket-propelled grenade.
“I saw it coming down, and by the time I turned and went to jump on top of my guys, I yelled `grenade’ and the blast had hit me.”
But the US military has called into question whether the incident actually happened.
Poe’s records show he served as a supply specialist with the Minnesota Army National Guard from 2002 until 2011.
He was deployed to Kosovo and spent a month in Afghanistan.
But National Guard spokesman Lt Col Kevin Olson said: “Sergeant Poe’s official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009, as he reports.
“We looked very closely at his record. We did not find something to substantiate what he said.”
He said there was also no record of Poe being shot in Iraq, as a Dallas television station reported in a story about him last month.
It is believed that broadcaster NBC relies on the show’s producers FremantleMedia North America and Syco Television to conduct background checks on contestants.
Those checks are usually only carried out on contestants who make it through to the later rounds of the show that are broadcast live.
NBC has refused to say whether Poe is among the top 48 performers picked in a Las Vegas audition round in April or if he has been rejected.
That has fuelled the interest in Poe’s story – and in a show which pulled in 11.5 million viewers last week