Waltham magician Shin Lim wins ‘America’s Got Talent’ and the $1 million grand prize

Shin Lim is lifted into the air by Zurcaroh after winning “America’s Got Talent.”
Shin Lim is lifted into the air by Zurcaroh after winning “America’s Got Talent.” (Trae Patton/NBC)

Confetti rained down upon Waltham magician Shin Lim at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood Wednesday night and runner-up dance group Zurcaroh lifted him into the air after host Tyra Banks announced him as the winner of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”

“Shin Lim!” Banks yelled. “Shin Lim: the sexiest magician on the planet!”

Lim, 26, captured America’s votes and the $1 million grand prize. He’ll headline the “America’s Got Talent Live” stage show in Las Vegas Nov. 2-4.

“It’s crazy. I barely got any sleep. It’s still not sinking in,” Lim told the Globe the day after his big win. He spoke on the phone from LA before sitting down with Ellen DeGeneres.


Throughout the season, Lim wowed Banks and celebrity judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and even the notoriously hard-to-impress Simon Cowell with his sleight-of-hand card tricks.

For his trick during the finals on Tuesday, he had something completely different up his sleeve.

He started out playing piano. With the flick of his wrist, he set on fire the paper music, and it burned down to a pack of cards.

He then walked over to a table where Banks waited and asked her to roll a pair of dice. Nine came up. He flicked the pack of cards he was holding, and only the four nines remained. When he asked Banks to pick a suit, she chose hearts — suddenly Lim revealed nine of hearts cards over and over again.

Later, dozens of cards appeared to float behind Lim and hover over the stage. Lim snapped his fingers, and most of the cards dropped to the ground. The ones left spelled “9 <3.”

Lim credited Cowell with sparking the new act, which the magician created specifically for the finals. Cowell told Lim after the semifinals that he needed “something bigger” for Las Vegas.


Cowell “inspired me to come out of my comfort zone, step aside from the close-up, intimate tricks,” Lim said.

Lim, whose parents are from Singapore, was born in Canada and grew up in Acton.

He has played piano since age 9 and planned on becoming a professional musician until he was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome at age 19. He started practicing magic at age 16.

A winner at the 2015 International Federation of Magic Societies World Championships, Lim has performed most of his professional gigs, a reason he decided to try out for “America’s Got Talent” in March.

“There were so many ups and downs, stressful moments and rewards,” Lim said of the show’s season.

His favorite moment of the experience?

“When Tyra announced my name,” Lim said with a laugh. “Everything just stopped.”

Lauren Daley can be reached at She tweets @laurendaley1.