English ventriloquist enjoys fruits of ‘AGT’ win

18 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

British ventriloquist wins America’s Got Talent.

The 43-year-old English ventriloquist says he entered America’s Got Talent in order to get some exposure and perhaps some work in the U.S. Facing atypically stiff competition from Wednesday night’s likely huge GOP debate on CNN, the season finale of America’s Got Talent did not quite match up to its performance the night prior.

By now, I’m sure you know that ventriloquist Paul Zerdin won the big million dollar prize, completely defying my prediction that he wouldn’t even make it to the top three. He did more than that, winning the 10th anniversary edition of the NBC talent competition, a $1 million prize and the chance to headline his own show in Las Vegas. “I have had success at home, (but) nothing compared to this, standing on stage at Radio City Music Hall on live television, in front of 6,000 people in the theater and millions at home,” he says in a telephone interview Thursday, a day after winning the contest. “That’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done.” “I wanted to concentrate on my performance and say, ‘Whatever happens, I’ve done my best,’ ” he says. “When I got (the victory), I was very surprised, but absolutely delighted and thrilled. The second part of the season ender averaged a 2.1 rating among adults 18-49 — a high for a Wednesday telecast this summer, but down three-tenths of a point from the night prior and from the 2014 finale. The 43-year-old, who comes from Wimbledon, south London, said he was still reeling from his win on the talent contest, which draws an audience of millions and comes with prize money of $1m (£640,000). “It feels kind of surreal, really,” he said. “When it came down to the final two I was completely ready to congratulate the comedian Drew, who I was up against, so when they said my name, my heart skipped a beat and I was filled with a mixture of exhaustion, jetlag and euphoria. All your favorites are in the video: the guy who had people kick him in the groin; the guy who squirted milk out of his eyeballs; the little tiny guy who sang; the cuddler; this season’s a capella group, Triple Threat; that levitating throat singer.

As a child, aged eight, he was given a box of magic tricks and then, after leaving school with no exams under his belt, became a professional magician. But the star of the sketch had to be Houston’s own rollerblading superstar, Juan Carlos, who brings the house down with his fabulous appearance: The three magicians in the top ten performed with last year’s winner, Mat Franco and Penn & Teller.

None of the tricks were particularly spectacular — I don’t even know what happened with Piff’s trick — and the whole bit mostly served as a shameless plug for Mat Franco’s special, Mat Franco’s Got Magic, which airs on NBC tonight. The show featured all three of his characters – Sam, Grandpa Albert and Baby – and Zerdin said it had been difficult to cram everything he could do into just two minutes. By introducing three different voices and animatronics into his performance he had been “trying to introduce something different into ventriloquism and play around with the art form a little bit, move it on”.

After his performance, Howard Stern, one of the judges, said: “There’s a reason Paul breezed through every single time he came on, because he is a master at what he does … He’s taking the art of ventriloquism to new heights.” The former Spice Girl Mel B, another of the judges, agreed, calling him “flawless”. The key to successful ventriloquism, he suggested, came down simply to keeping audiences amused. “The most important thing is that you’ve got to be funny, you’ve got to be entertaining.

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