Find out what’s in the cards for this Waltham magician on ‘America’s Got Talent’

Shin Lim with “America’s Got Talent’’ host Tyra Banks. —Justin Lubin / NBC

So far this season, Waltham magician Shin Lim has wowed “The Newsroom’’ actress Olivia Munn, supermodel Tyra Banks, and judges Mel B, Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.’’

Now he’s impressed the show’s viewers.

After his sleight-of-hand card performance on Aug. 14, Lim was voted through by at-home viewers to advance to the semifinals of the reality talent show. The semifinals kick off Tuesday at 8 p.m. and continue next week.

The Acton-Boxborough Regional High School alum is now among the 22 acts competing for the grand prize of $1 million. The winner will be crowned Sept. 19.

“I was not expecting it,’’ Lim, 26, said of making the semifinal cut. “It’s good to know people enjoy card tricks that much.’’

Of course, “card tricks’’ may be putting it lightly.

Lim’s brand of close-up, sleight-of-hand card magic, set to a musical soundtrack, pleased the notoriously hard-to-please Cowell, who called Lim’s first appearance in May “unbelievable.’’

Lim’s second appearance in July caused Munn’s jaw to drop.

He called his third and most recent quarterfinal performance “my weakest act. I knew going on to the quarterfinals with that act was iffy.’’


Still, it was enough to advance him.

That performance was shot in one long take, a close-up shot of a standard card deck, which, at various points, Lim showed in its original cardboard packaging, made appear as one single card, and changed to read the message, “I [Heart] America’s Got Talent,’’ and, “Vote for Shin Lim,“ then disappear completely.

“I have a strong magician fanbase, so that helps. A lot of my fans appreciate the technical skill,’’ Lim told the Globe. “Most people wouldn’t appreciate that the quarterfinals [act was] all done in one take. For sleight-of-hand, there usually needs to be a lot of cuts for it to seem seamless, to cover up any funny business or misdirection. We did it in one take, so . . . [magicians] appreciate that.’’

Mandel certainly noticed the seamlessness. After the act, he commented, “If you’re not in the finals, then America doesn’t know what they’re doing.’’

Klum agreed: “You definitely are the best close-up magician I’ve ever seen,’’ she said.

Lim was born in Canada and grew up in Acton. He planned to be a professional pianist but turned to magic after he was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome at age 20.


A winner at the 2015 International Federation of Magic Societies World Championships, Lim previously told the Globe he’s “trying to change the outlook on card magic — to make it more artistic, more visual.’’

“AGT’’ airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC.

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