In the Final show it came down to comedian Drew Lynch and ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, while viewers held their breath to see who would be named the winner of America’s Got Talent. “I was going to say to him, you know, well done. The best man won. You’re a great act and congratulations.” Paul Zerdin said as he thought back to his moment on stage.
Drew Lynch stole the hearts of millions as he used every day struggles he faced and turned it into comedian gold. It was for this reason that Paul Zerdin thought he would be named runner up and was focusing his energy on what he would say to the winner Drew Lynch. However, the fans had voted and it wasn’t the loveable Drew Lynch who had nabbed the title, but Paul Zerdin.
Excitement and a mix of Jet Lag swelled over him as Zerdin’s heart skipped a beat and left him lost for words. Perhaps not the best thing, since as soon as the show was over Zerdin headed straight into interviews. With little time to celebrate with the family and friends that had joined him at the show, he had ONE beer and headed to bed.
Waking up the next morning Paul Zerdin checked his phone and was blown away. “I just thought, oh my god, that’s insane. My phone has never been so busy.” He was referring to the 73 text messages and hundreds of emails, tweets, and Facebook messages that dominated his phone. At that point it gradually started to sink in. Because he missed his chance to celebrate the night of the show, he decided he would start the real celebration the next day and try if he could to stretch it out a little. (WHICH HE TOTALLY DESERVES!)
For over 20 years Paul Zerdin has been performing all over the world. He has even performed for the Royal Variety Show, which is a huge honor to perform in front of the Queen and Royal Family. His love for puppets began when he was 10 years old and a family friend gifted him with a puppet theater. Quickly his love became an obsession. Zerdin expresses a deep bond with Sesame Street and Jim Henson as he talks about his reasons behind getting into the art of puppets and ventriloquism. It was a thrill as he mentioned iconic moments from Sesame Street and the impact they had on him became tangible. His voice took on a soft tone and a smile could be heard through his words, “Those moments were for me absolute magic. I just knew that I wanted to do something that was connected with all that.”
While Jim Henson and Sesame Street fueled his passion and inspired him to continue on with his love of puppets, they were also one of the reasons he came to America’s Got Talent instead of Britain’s Got Talent. As well as the other factor being Zerdin has already performed in the Royal Variety Show (the prize for Britain’s Got Talent). I couldn’t help but laugh as he explained his thought process of trying out for America’s Got Talent. Paul Zerdin thought he would just pop on over, audition, and if it didn’t work out then he would head back over with no one being the wiser.
“Unfortunately, I forgot about the social media side of things,” said Zerdin. Lucky for him it turned out better than to be expected and lucky for us we got to see him shine! Zerdin also added, “If you’re going to do one, why don’t you do the biggest and the best?”
Well as a viewer of America’s Got Talent and a lover of puppets, I can’t express how excited I was to watch him go all the way. Not to mention, how amazing his performances were every time. Zerdin expressed that he had a few favorites, one being from his audition at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. The standing ovation from the judges and audience filled him with confidence. It was the energy from this first performance that helped him carry on through the tough and exhausting times that comes with America’s Got Talent.
Another one of his favorite performances is from the semifinal when Judge Howie Mandel had been made into a human dummy. Paul Zerdin laughed as memories of that performance came alive. While he can manipulate the mouth piece, the act goes as far as the volunteer is willing. Mandel was a huge sport, playing along, and giving it everything he had. “Howie Mandel was absolutely brilliant,” he said as he was still laughing. (We can’t help but agree!)
Viewers tune in weekly to watch their favorite acts for 90 seconds. All of the acts take a lot of practice and skill, which could last for long hours before a performance. Not to mention a lot of the contestants are away from home and everyday life, thrown into a giant, hectic mess that is reality TV. Paul Zerdin touched on the different challenges he faced during the America’s Got Talent. He dives into the most important thing any contestant needs and that is stamina. While on stage you need high energy and smiles, a lot of the stamina is needed off stage. For viewers to really connect, they need to see the behind the scenes. They want to know what goes on before the acts head onto the stage.
Zerdin loved being able to have a creative input on the clips before his performance that showed him goofing around and having fun on his down time. However, it is a lot of work and a lot of filming is involved. I mean can you imagine running around a city like New York, trying to figure out how to top your last performance, keep your act fresh, how to entice the viewers into voting, and all the while still being true to yourself. Just him listing the things he would do in a week made me tired and really hit home exactly how important stamina is.
Besides the shock of how much stamina it takes to keep going, Paul Zerdin was taken aback by the jitters that would tease at his stomach before stepping out. Even though he has had the privilege of playing all over the world, Zerdin explained that no gig has ever been as big as Radio City Hall. The theater alone holds a little under 6,000 seats and then add on the millions of viewers sitting at home. It is enough to make anyone feel a swarm of butterflies battling it out in the pit of their stomach. Even though he would feel the fluttering, it wasn’t as if he was a nervous wreck. Zerdin expresses how quickly letting nerves overwhelm you can ruin your day. So instead, he worked on channeling the nervous energy and laughed at himself that even after 20 years of performing he would still feel a slight buzz before he started.
Paul Zerdin not only won American’s Got Talent, but he pushed himself harder than he ever has. He is ready to take the world by storm and touched on some of the projects he is looking forward to. Along with winning the title and a million dollars, Zerdin will be headlining a show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas from October 22-24. As he dove into a little of a teaser of what fans could expect during his show, I couldn’t help but start crunching the numbers so I could buy my ticket. “I’m a one man stand up muppety sitcom.”
He really didn’t need to go on any further, I was already sold. While I am a huge fan of Terry Fator (Season 2 winner), the two styles are very different. Paul Zerdin has a special connection with his puppet characters and spins this story interlinking them all into one big skit. I am enthused with the relationships between himself with the puppets and the puppets with themselves. Not to mention, he touched on the concept of making a family of human puppets during his Vegas show and if it turns out half as funny as it did during the semifinal then the whole audience will be left gasping for air through side clenching laughter.
Paul Zerdin’s dreams are becoming reality quickly and his opportunities are endless. Which is great news for his fans, because I don’t see his light dimming down anytime soon. Between new puppets, his Vegas Show, and hints at ideas for a TV show; fans have a lot to look forward to. A big BRAVO and CONGRATULATIONS to America’s Got Talent winner Paul Zerdin.