An America's Got Talent contestant tugged at heartstrings on Monday night's episode when he told a tearful tale about surviving a run-in with a grenade while serving in Afghanistan.
Now comes word he may have made the whole thing up.
Sgt. Timothy Michael Poe, a 35-year-old aspiring country crooner, revealed during Monday's auditions in Austin, Texas, how he spent 14 years in the military and was injured by a grenade during a tour in 2009, sustaining a broken back and a brain injury.
"I had volunteered for a team to go out and clear buildings and help out with the wounded," he said in a taped segment. "There was a guy who come 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."
Not only that, but the incident, he said, left him with a very bad speech impediment that he'd been working with a therapist to overcome.
The cowboy hat-wearing Poe subsequently brought the house down with a soaring rendition of Garth Brooks' song "If Tomorrow Never Comes" and earned three "yes" votes from judges Howard Stern, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel, who sent him on to the next round in Las Vegas.
While the moment made for great television, according to Minnesota Army National Guard records none of it appears to be true.
"Sgt. Poe's official military records do not indicate that he was injured by a grenade in combat while serving in Afghanistan in 2009," Lt. Col. Kevin Olson, a spokesman for the Minnesota National Guard, said in a statement Tuesday.
Records indicate the Texas native served in the Minnesota National Guard from December 2002 to May 2011 as a supply specialist. He was deployed in Kosovo from Oct. 10, 2007, to July 15, 2008, and served in Afghanistan for a month in 2009. According to Olson, he never received a Purple Heart, an award given to those wounded in the line of duty.
A rep for NBC was mum on the matter, and the army vet couldn't be reached for comment.
Stern subsequently talked on his SiriusXM radio show Wednesday morning about how Poe's alleged lie really got him steamed because he was "about to lose it and cry for the guy."
"You could be the most f—ked-up liar on the planet, but you never lie about military service," said the shock jock, per fansite Marksfriggin. "This lie is so wrong on so many levels."