Tonight, on the season finale of America’s Got Talent, Shin Lim was declared the winner of the show, and walked away with $1 million and the opportunity to headline a spectacular in Las Vegas.
Here’s what you need to know about Shin Lim:
1. He Is 26
Lim is just 26-years-old and is the newly minted America’s Got Talent king.
In a 2015 interview with Digital Journal, Lim explained that he got into magic in high school, after his brother showed him the slip force and told him to check out Youtube to find out how to the trick worked.
“From there I learned as much free magic on YouTube as I could. And because money was an issue for me, I couldn’t afford to purchase books or gimmicks at magic trick stores, so a deck of cards was the most economical.” He continued, “The great thing about YouTube is that I could see the greats performing on there. The biggest influences were Tommy Wonder, David Stone, Jean Pierre Vallarino, David Sousa, Yu ho Jin, Yan Frisch, and many more which have influenced me in many ways.”
2. He Is the Only Magician in History to Fool Penn and Teller Twice
Lim has appeared on Penn & Teller: Fool Us, which led to international fame. He is the only magician in the history of the show to fool Penn and Teller twice.
His first appearance on the show has raked in over 50 million views.
Lim calls himself a “Sleight of Hand Artist.” He has also admitted to fans (because he’s had to!) that he is not a magician, nor a wizard, and has no intention of lying to his audiences. His website reads, “He performs carefully self-choreographed routines rather than pretending to defy the laws of Physics. Combining Dexterity, Precision and Grace, he has distilled a Lifetime of training into a devious display of DANCING DIGITS.”
3. He Studied Music at Lee University
Lim attended high school in British Columbia, Canada, and then enrolled at Lee University to pursue a degree in music. He hoped to earn a double major in piano and telecommunications, and at school, he was a member of the ensemble Choral Union.
He is the reigning FISM World Champion in Close Up Card Magic, and has won a number of other awards for his card magic. His other awards include admittance into the 2015 International Brotherhood of Magicians, 2015 People’s Choice, 2014 IBM Close Up Magician of the Year, and the 2014 FISM North American Champion of Card Magic.
He says of his card magic, “I’m trying to change the outlook on card magic — to make it more artistic, more visual.”
4. He Was Diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel at Age 20
At 20, while at Lee, Lim was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, and had to stop playing piano professionally.
In an interview with Hollywood Life recently, Lim shared:
I’ve always wanted to put out that story. I feel like people didn’t really know that about me, that side of me. Because that was actually a majority of my life I was always supposed to be a pianist. And then when it was taken away from me, it was extremely devastating. But looking back, you know, it’s kind of like a blessing in disguise. And so, I felt like it was kind of the right moment for people to see that. People had seen me doing sleight of hand all these rounds. It’s time to go out of my comfort zone, and talk on stage, which was really scary for me. Talking on stage was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I can do that.’
Lim was forced to choose between school and magic, and ended up taking a sabbatical from Lee, before eventually dropping out. He chose to focus his attention on magic.
5. He Has Produced a Variety of Award-Winning Acts
Lim has produced a variety of award-winning acts, like the “Dream Act” and “52 Shades of Red.”
After his appearance on Penn & Teller, he took some time to tour internationally.
What advice does he give hopefuls in magic? “Keep on going no matter what, and don’t listen to anyone’s advice but your own. The moment you start feeding off other people’s opinions you lose your own character.”