Canton student competing for $1 million NBC TV show prize

Steve Price representing Metro Detroit on America's Got Talent with his machines

Published On: Aug 19 2013 10:48:58 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 19 2013 11:59:42 PM EDT
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CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -

A Canton college student landed a spot on America's Got Talent not for singing or dancing, but for his Rube Goldberg machines.

Steve Price, otherwise known as Sprice, has built about 50 machines in his parents basement and has become a YouTube sensation.

"A Rube Goldberg machine is a complicated series of chain reactions that result in completing a simple task," Price said.

Rube Goldberg was a Pulitzer Prize winning political cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer and inventor and created very complex machines to perform a simple task.

Price's fascination with toys and his aspiration as a mechanical engineer is what sparked him to starting building Rube Goldberg machines.

"I kind of started playing with blocks, Legos, Hot Wheels, things like that, marble tracks and then one day I just kind of combined everything together and made a chain reaction," he said. "There's a lot of trial and error, a lot of testing, a lot of creativity."

The producers of America's Got Talent found his YouTube channel and asked him to audition.

So Price headed to Chicago in May and spent three days putting one of his machines together before the show. He had just finished finals at Michigan State University where he is studying mechanical engineering.

"It's really relieving to see it work because Rube Goldberg machines can be really difficult to get them to work," Price said. "Once it finally works, especially in front of a crowd, it makes me really nervous that something could go wrong but I try to make sure that everything works perfectly."

Before being on the show, he said he's reached over a million hits on his YouTube channel.

"My machines on YouTube really started off very very small, only getting a few views," he said. "But I kept going with it, kept making them more complex and eventually people started sharing them and tons of people got into it."

Price competes again Tuesday for a chance to make it to the semi-final round of America's Got Talent.  He couldn't tell Local 4 what his machine will look like, but he did tell us he had to move out of his parents basement and into a warehouse to have enough space to build it.

"This machine is so much more elaborate than the audition in Chicago, I'm hoping to make that one look bad," said Price.

Once it is set up in New York, he hopes to do at least 10 test runs on his entire machine.  In addition to that, he will go through and test the individual parts of the machine about 50 to 100 times.

The judges on America's Got Talent teased Price during his Chicago audition that he wasn't excited enough, but Price said just because he looks calm on the outside, that doesn't mean he is on the inside.

"Right before I start off the machine I'm probably freaking out on the inside, I might not show it much but I'm really nervous about it," Price said. "It's an act that many things can go wrong with but if everything goes right then there's a huge reward and it creates an amazing display at the end."

NBC's America's Got Talent airs Tuesday and Wednesday at 9 p.m.

The winner of the show will get $1 million.   To see Sprice's entire Chicago audition, click here.