Magic Tricks Revealed: How Shin Lim And Other ‘Got Talent’ Magicians Do It

Shin Lim America's Got Talent

Have you ever wished that the secrets to your favorite magic tricks could be revealed? It shouldn’t really be a spoiler to tell you that America’s Got Talent illusionists like Shin Lim and Collins Key aren’t actual wizards. They’ve trained and practiced to perfect their art, and sometimes they’re nice enough to reveal how they do it.

Several Got Talent magicians have appeared in online videos sharing tutorials and tips for viewers who want to wow their friends and family. Of course, these videos don’t explain all their secrets, but they can give you a better idea of how they trick their audience — and a greater appreciation for their talent. Check out some of our favorite examples below.

1. Shin Lim

Last year’s America’s Got Talent winner has a YouTube channel where he shares updates about his career and offers resources for aspiring magicians. As he shared in one video, he prefers to offer “performance tips” and teach viewers “how to apply what you already know into your daily routines.” He frequently welcomes fellow magicians to help him out — including Alex Pandrea, who goes over the “diagonal palm shift.”

2. Collins Key

This young magician placed fifth in Season 8 of AGT, and currently has 16 million YouTube followers. In addition to his usual DIY videos, he has also shared a couple of fun magic tutorials. In one video, he shares a basic back-to-school magic trick in which he puts a torn-up piece of paper back together. He also adds an extra bit of unexplained magic at the end to prove what a pro he really is.

3. Jon Dorenbos

The football-player-turned-magician, who finished in third place during AGT Season 11, appeared in a “Talent University” video for the show last year. In it, he teaches a simple card trick that involves the classic “pick a card” technique, with a step-by-step for how to find it in the deck.

4. Mat Franco

The AGT Season 9 winner also appears in a “Talent University” video in which he teaches viewers how to bend a spoon, and how to find two cards in a deck. You’ll just have to use your imagination to figure out how he sticks that plastic straw up his nose.

5. Colin Cloud

This mentalist, who has been called a “real-life Sherlock Holmes,” competed on Season 12 of America’s Got Talent. Although he doesn’t reveal how he got Mel B to stab Simon Cowell on stage, he does appear in a YouTube video sharing some creative techniques for memorizing things. It could help you impress your friends — or just pass that big test at school.

6. Cosentino

The Australia’s Got Talent runner-up, who will also appear on America’s Got Talent: The Champions, stars in a video teaching you how to make a coffee cup levitate. He says he started performing the trick himself when he was 13 years old. It may not be as extreme as his escape acts, but it’s still pretty fun.

7. Darcy Oake

This former Britain’s Got Talent contestant was cool enough to teach Canadian radio host Tom Power how to do a basic card trick that hardly requires any sleight of hand. As Oake points out at the end, just make sure your friends and family don’t see the video before you wow them with your skills.

8. Oz Pearlman

Before he appeared on Season 10 of America’s Got Talent, Pearlman appeared in a YouTube video explaining how to do the “Mystery Card” trick. You’ll need some basic craft supplies (scissors, construction paper, tape) on hand if you want to try it at home.

9. Murray

The Season 5 AGT semifinalist has over a million subscribers to his YouTube channel, where he frequently shows off magic “pranks.” Although he encourages viewers not to try those at home, he does share how to do other tricks that are less likely to get you arrested. They include “healing” an apple, making crayons disappear, and levitating a ruler.


Jill O'Rourke
Jill O'Rourke

Jill O’Rourke is a contributor at Talent Recap, writing news stories and recaps for shows like ‘AGT,’ ‘The Voice,’ and ‘American Idol.’ She graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and Film Studies, and has been writing about pop culture since 2012, with previous bylines at Crushable and A Plus. Jill spends her free time binge-watching sitcoms and daydreaming about life as a hobbit

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