By Benjamin Pfeffer, Staff Writer
America’s Got Talent, a globally known show, has wrapped up its 13th season with its finale airing the night of Wednesday, Sept. 19. The winner of the show was, deservedly, Magician Shin Lim.
Almost everybody on America’s Got Talent has to have some sort of incredible life story or they aren’t impressive enough to the judges to get through. Shin Lim’s life story is a comeback story… twice.
Lim was an aspiring musician, a pianist, attending the School of Music at Lee University in Tennessee. He practiced music while having a hobby of doing magic.
At the age of 20, Lim was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and was forced to give up his future as a pianist and drop out of school.
Since then, Lim has developed his career as a magician and appeared twice on the Penn and Teller Magic show, in 2015 and 2017.
Lim has also traveled around the globe performing his act and shocking the audience. Between the 2015 and 2017 performances, both of which he won the Penn and Teller show and fooled them, he suffered an accident while rehearsing and severed two of his thumb tendons.
For his final act, Lim performed what he’s mastered over the years, a card trick. But this wasn’t some pick-a-card-put-it-anywhere-let-me-guess-it trick. Lim shocked the world with illusion and the card that was chosen, the nine of hearts, appeared in seemingly infinite ways over the next few minutes and took the votes of the audience that night.
Those who were in the finals with Lim were all incredibly talented, but only one could walk away as the champion. The other finalists were singers Daniel Emmet, Glennis Grace, Courtney Hadwin, and Michael Ketterer, comedians Vicki Barbalok and Samuel Comroe, electric violinist Brian Joseph, trapeze couple Duo Transcend, and dance group Zurcaroh.
Dance group Zurcaroh came home with the second-place prize. Zurcaroh seemed to recreate an Avatar-like dance. The group dance was a beautiful and impressive dance that seemed to thrive off of the strength, acrobatics and unity of the group. The synchronization of all group members combined with the alluring background, props and outfits were a perfect recipe for the team and they were fairly placed at second place.
Third place was an incredibly eye-catching performance by electric violinist Brian Joseph. Brian Joseph was diagnosed with neuropathy, a disease that causes Brian the slow, painful death of the nerves in the hands and feet. He cannot feel the strings when he plays. He can only play because he has the muscle memory.
Despite Joseph’s nerve damage, he plays and performs as well as anybody and is known as the “King of Violin.”
His performance entrapped the audience into the sheer talent and beauty of it. The lightshow and the scenery of his rendition of “Heartless” was musically unmatched in the finals.
The contenders in the finals who didn’t make it to the final three were the comedians Samuel Comroe and Vicki Barbalok, singers Daniel Emmet, Glennis Grace, Courtney Hadwin, and Michael Ketterer, and trapeze couple Duo Transcend.
Out of the comedians, Samuel Comroe outperformed Vicki Barbalok and he came home with fourth place while she did not make the top 5.
Vicki Barbalok has performed better in the past and her finale show was underwhelming while Samuel Comroe continued to perform at that higher level.
The singers Michael Ketterer and Courtney Hadwin came fifth and out-of-top-five, respectively. The two singers had such different performances it really came down to audience preferences. When they faced off it was Michael that the audience ended up siding with, although both performances were incredible.
During the trapeze couple Duo Transcend’s audition, the man dropped the woman almost into fire, but they asked to go on and the judges granted that wish. Since then, they performed to their highest ability and made it to the finals.
In their final performance, it ended with a light-hearted joke as the woman dropped the man after the routine was over.
While this season did have its normal abundance of singers, it also consisted of acts that have been performed at a level never seen before on this show.
Shin Lim was the audience favorite when it came to the voting and is taking home the million. The Massachusetts Magician has dominated yet another show.
PHOTO COURTESY: TRAE PATTON NBC