Exclusive: 'America's Got Talent' mentalist Oz Pearlman reveals all
The fan favorite shares his thoughts on the winner, the trick that almost went horribly wrong, and where he goes from here.
The morning after millions of people watched him perform magic on live TV at Radio City Music Hall, mentalist and marathoner Oz Pearlman is wearing running clothes, but is too busy to go outside.
"I can't even tell you what today's going to be like," a bleary-eyed Pearlman told From The Grapevine. (He didn't get home until 2 a.m. last night from an after-party.) The 33-year-old Israeli-born Pearlman is sifting through hundreds of emails from fans, as well as those from agents and managers who are hoping to get into the Wizard of Oz business. "It's a big day."
A fan favorite for his jaw-dropping performances, Pearlman came in third place last night as the results were announced on the finale of the 10th season of "America's Got Talent" on NBC.
"I had no doubt that Paul was going to win the whole thing," he says of Paul Zerdin, the British ventriloquist who took home the top prize. "When I was standing on stage, there was zero surprise. I think he deserved to win. I felt nothing but true happiness for him."
Fans who tuned into the finale got to see Pearlman perform one last trick. He asked judge Heidi Klum to simply think of any card from an imaginary deck and – voila! – he literally pulled that card out of thin air. "It was the best card trick I could do in one minute," Pearlman explains, "and it's without cards!" You can watch the illusion below:
Throughout the months-long competition, one of the highest-rated TV shows of summer, Pearlman was a hardworking showman. He stunned audiences week in and week out. He even made a trip to wow the anchors of the "Today" show.
Then he appeared on this week's finale. As he revealed to From The Grapevine, it's a small miracle that the trick even worked. It involved all four judges and had many revelations throughout. There were lots of opportunities for it to go off the rails. "It was very risky," Pearlman admits. "During rehearsals, one of the times we did it, it completely failed. The prediction was wrong." But Pearlman's rendition of the trick on live TV was flawless. "That was a moment I was on cloud nine."
After all that, he's happy with this third-place showing. "I've got what's known as bronze medal-itis," he says. "The guy who gets silver is beating himself up right now that he didn't win. But me, I'm just happy because I'm in the top three. Everyone saw what I'm capable of."
Pearlman currently performs five to eight times a week. He told us he's off to do shows in Beverly Hills and Orlando in the next few days before ending up back at home with his wife and dog in New York. Pearlman hopes the newfound fame will lead to a less grueling schedule with fewer performances but in front of bigger crowds. "This is the next level," he says. "I'm hoping this propels my career in a way that nothing else has ever done."
In the meantime, he also hopes to spend more time with his other passion – running. Pearlman competes in 50-mile ultra-marathons and is the 28th fastest American of all time at that distance. In May, before the hubbub of "America's Got Talent" started this summer, he bested 960 other runners in the Long Island marathon to come in first place, a full 20 minutes ahead of the second place runner. Up next for him is the Chicago marathon in October and the New York City marathon in November.
Details are still being worked out, but Pearlman may also be touring with some other finalists as part of an "America's Got Talent" show in Las Vegas and other parts of the country. As for the series itself, last night marked the end of Howard Stern's run as a judge. Simon Cowell is reportedly going to replace him. The producers have already announced audition information for next season with the show stopping in a dozen American cities hoping to find the next great undiscovered talent.
As for Pearlman, he's grateful for the experience and looking ahead to the next chapter of his career. "I'm incredibly happy and thankful for all the support I got from across the country," he says. And with that, still dressed in his running clothes, he plops back in his chair to answer more emails. Even a great mentalist can't predict what opportunities lie ahead.
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