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Fame and celebrity

Magician Shin Lim, son of Singapore emigrants, wins America’s Got Talent with jaw-dropping card tricks

Canadian-born Shin Lim, a former piano student who instead turned his hand to the art of close-up magic, wins US$1 million and headliner status in Las Vegas

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 8:20am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 September, 2018, 10:09am

America’s Got Talent on Wednesday crowned a Season 13 winner: magician Shin Lim.

The runner-up, dance group Zurcaroh, embraced the card magician after host Tyra Banks announced him as champion at the end of a live, two-hour season finale.

As the credits rolled, Lim told the audience, “Thank you so much, everyone. I love you all so much.”

He survived against nine other finalists during Wednesday’s two-hour season finale, winning the most viewer votes after Tuesday’s live performance show. He will receive a US$1 million prize and headliner status for a November AGT show in Las Vegas.

Lim, hailed by fans as one of the world’s best “close-up” magicians, is the Canadian-born son of Singaporean immigrants. He now lives in Boston.

The former piano student baffled and impressed judges who typically got up close to his act to see if they could catch his jaw-dropping sleight of hand at work.

Lim has previously appeared on magic shows including Penn and Teller’s Fool Us.

About 90 minutes into Wednesday’s show, five acts were eliminated based on viewer votes: singer Glennis Grace; comedian Vicki Barbolak; singer Daniel Emmet; trapeze artists Duo Transcend and singer Courtney Hadwin.

During the final 20 minutes, AGT counted down eliminations. Besides runner-up Zurcaroh, violinist Brian King Joseph finished third; stand-up comedian Samuel J. Comroe finished fourth; and singer Michael Ketterer finished fifth.

Tuesday’s performance finale was the most-watched AGT episode of the season, averaging 12.8 million viewers in overnight Nielsen ratings. It also attracted the largest number of young adults since the June 19 episode.

As is usual for TV talent competitions, a short winner reveal was padded into a two-hour, star-studded, highlight-filled extravaganza.

KISS kicked the show off with Detroit Rock City, as host Tyra Banks and judges Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel walked out onstage past Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons and their bandmates. The band broke some news, announcing its upcoming farewell tour, End of the Road World Tour.