Mentalist wows 'America's Got Talent' judges with mind-blowing trick
Oz Pearlman advances to next round after receiving a standing ovation.
Twitter lit up last night when a great and powerful Oz (no, not that one) stunned the judges and audience during a memorable audition of "America's Got Talent" on NBC.
An unsuspecting 32-year-old named Oz Pearlman, who was born in Israel and raised in New York, sauntered onstage wearing a suit and tie and looking very mild-mannered. But what he did next was anything but ordinary. His jaw-dropping trick had people asking "How the heck did he do that?" at office water coolers all day.
So what did Pearlman do? First, he asked judge Heidi Klum to mentally pick a number between 1 and 100. He wrote down a number on a pad of paper, and asked her what her number was. She replied "57," and at that very moment Pearlman showed the number 57 on his pad.
Next, he asked judge Mel B to think of a place where she once vacationed, and the name of a friend who joined her on this trip. She wrote down "Geri Fiji" on a piece of paper, folded it up and gave it to Pearlman – who proceeded to rip it up. He then pulled out an envelope – stapled all around – from his jacket pocket. Inside the envelope was this handwritten note: "I am picturing a vacation to Fiji that happened in 1998 and someone else there named Geri."
Want to see it for yourself? Take a look at the video of the interaction below:
Not surprisingly, the audience went wild. "That is bananas!" Mel B proclaimed. "You are slick, you are enticing! I would pay to come and watch you again, and again, and again." All four judges gave him a standing ovation.
"It's a bit overwhelming is the best way to put it," Pearlman told From The Grapevine when we reached him by phone this morning. "Everyone came out of the woodwork, people I haven’t spoken to in years. They were pretty freaked out by the trick. They thought it was the best of all worlds – a bit of entertainment, a bit of laughter, a bit of fun and mystery."
Pearlman has been honing his craft for decades. He discovered magic when he was 13 years old while on a cruise trip with his family. "As soon as we came back home, I started buying books and videos and dove in headfirst," Pearlman recently told Forbes magazine. He spent most of his high school and college years performing at birthday parties and corporate events. But he didn't think he could make a living doing it.
So, while at the University of Michigan, he majored in electrical engineering and eventually got a high-tech job doing data restoration for Merrill Lynch. But mentalism and magic were never far away. He continued to perform on the side and, in 2005, decided to leave his Wall Street gig and do magic full-time.
Pearlman is no stranger to hard work. He's performed his mentalist act on six continents and in more than 30 countries, including in his native Israel. He's also an ultra-marathoner: Pearlman runs 50-mile ultra-marathons and is the 28th fastest American of all time at that distance. In May, he bested 960 other runners in the Long Island marathon to come in first place. When Pearlman crossed the finish line, a fanned deck of cards magically appeared in his hands. Think that was magic? How about this: The second-place runner was more than 20 minutes behind him.
When Pearlman called From The Grapevine to chat, he had just returned from a 20-mile run – something he says he's doing daily as he trains for the upcoming marathons in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. "A lot of my best creative bursts are when I’m running," Pearlman says. "When I go out for a 20-mile run and I don’t bring music or anything, I brainstorm ideas for routines."
Those ideas seem to be working. A visit to his website reveals scores of photos of Pearlman performing in front of various celebrities and dignitaries. He recently performed on Jimmy Fallon's show as well as for Kelly Ripa. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow Israeli and world-renowned mentalist Uri Geller.
What are Pearlman's chances? Another amiable magician, 27-year-old Mat Franco from Rhode Island, became the first magician to win "America's Got Talent" last year. The great and powerful Oz is hoping to become the second.
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE:
Related Topics: TV