Mat Franco, a Newport magician who was used to enthralling his audience all along has done a different sortie on a TV talent show Wednesday showing his prowess and winning the top $1 million prize in NBC “America’s Got Talent.”
A native of Johnston, Franco, who graduated from the University of Rhode Island four years ago, won the opportunity to participate on the show in Las Vegas to steal the entire show surprising the audience and showing how “America has got talent” indeed.
Franco was a child prodigy when he started learning magic tricks as a child and performed his first show as a kindergartener. He went to Las Vegas at the age of 12 to study magic.
He was the first magician to win the eight-seasons-old show’s prize money and he said he owes his prize money to all his fans who voted for him in the competition.
Other interesting participants included illusionist Mat Franco who reached the top slot when judges Mel B, Heidi Klum, Howard Stern and Howie Mandel were impressed with his presentations and Franco finished just ahead of popular singer Emily West.
Franco, who had learnt magic on his own and showed his talent on many college campuses was in the finale, where he performed a card trick involving Stern and guest Rosie O’Donnell, giving both of them 10 cards, which they hid in their clothing. Finally, the stunning result came when three cards from O’Donnell’s stack were mysteriously transferred to Stern’s.
Judge Mel B. was amazed at Franco’s talent. “You keep us entertained. You keep us engaged. What you do, I don’t know how you do it. You’ve just got it. You’ve got everything and then some more.”
The two hour finale began with performances by Pitbull, Train, Lenny Kravitz, and Jennifer Hudson.