Mentalist reads Howard Stern's mind, stuns TV audience
Trick that featured Tom Cruise and Oprah Winfrey catapults contestant to Radio City Music Hall.
Millions watched last night as mentalist Oz Pearlman managed to read the minds of judges Howie Mandel and Howard Stern on "America's Got Talent" on NBC.
So what's he doing this morning? He's in New York City walking Mico, his Shih Tzu. And after that he's going on a 24-mile run as he prepares to compete in the upcoming Chicago marathon. (He is America's 28th fastest ultra-marathoner.) During a few minutes of respite – for both puppy and owner – the 33-year-old native Israeli paused to chat with From The Grapevine about the magic trick that has the nation talking this morning, and his secret weapon that he may bring out for the final round.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First, back to the last night's episode, where 20 acts competed and only seven were sent through to the next round. Pearlman received one of those spots. Which isn't surprising once you see the mental gymnastics he performed in the video below.
He first showed a notebook whose pages were filled with the names of female celebrities – Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Taylor Swift and so on. In total, 60 women's names were in the book. Pearlman handed the book to judge Howard Stern and asked him to randomly open the book to a page. A flip of the book, and he landed on Oprah Winfrey's name.
Then he handed Howie Mandel a notebook full of male celebrity names – Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, George Clooney and so forth. Mandel mentally picked a name, and just to make it more interesting, also a movie starring that actor.
None of this seemed to faze Pearlman. He grabbed a marker and a pad of paper and wrote down "Tom Cruise" and "Top Gun." He then asked Mandel to reveal what he had been thinking. Once people realized what Pearlman had just done, the room was shocked.
"Wow!" Mandel exclaimed. Pearlman tossed the pad and marker over his shoulder. But he wasn't done just yet.
He then moved over to Stern and asked him about the female celebrity he had chosen. While chatting with Stern, Pearlman took a small piece of a paper and started to cut it up using scissors. As soon as Stern said Oprah's name, Pearlman opened the piece of paper he was holding to reveal a cut-out of Oprah Winfrey.
"Unbelievable! I'm absolutely speechless," shouted judge Heidi Klum. "You are amazing. It's insane!"
Last night's episode was filmed in New York over Memorial Day weekend, but Pearlman tells us it wasn't hard to keep the results from his friends and family for the past couple of months. "My whole life is keeping secrets. The whole act is keeping secrets," he says. "So this one was just one more to throw into the bucket."
In the meantime, he's been keeping himself busy – performing shows in Paris, Maine and Beverly Hills. Later today, he's traveling to upstate New York. Tomorrow he's performing in Boston.
As for "America's Got Talent," he's now advanced to the final round, and will be performing on the live shows in August at the iconic Radio City Music Hall in New York City. "It's epic! I've seen performers there many times," he says. "I just never thought I would be on that stage. It's one for the record books."
So what will he perform in the next round? He jokes that maybe he'll bring Mico and put him in a little tuxedo. "Once you get a really cute kid or a really cute dog, you're golden. That gets you through to the next round." Indeed, a dog act won the competition in 2012.
Incorporating his puppy into the act could be a winning strategy, although one fraught with possible complications. As we wrap up our conversation, we quickly ask Pearlman what his favorite Tom Cruise movie is. "Risky Business," he says with a glint of excitement.
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE:
Related Topics: TV