Ventriloquist and British comedian Paul Zerdin was crowned the Season 10 winner of NBC's "America's Got Talent" Wednesday night. The 41-year-old routinely impressed the judges and audience with his hilarious ventriloquist acts, clever punch lines and funny puppets.
Zerdin, who is the second ventriloquist to win the competition show, will receive a $1 million grand prize, as well as headline "America's Got Talent Live" in Las Vegas starting next month. Zerdin's unique comedy act beat out other "AGT" finalists, including singer Benton Blount, standup magician Derek Hughes, comedian Gary Vider, mentalist Oz Pearlman, ladder acrobat Uzeyer Novruzov, the Craig Lewis Band, Piff the Magic Dragon and Stevie Star aka Professional Regurgitator. So who is Paul Zerdin? Check out five fun facts about the "AGT" winner below:
1. Zerdin was first introduced to puppets when he was 10 years old. According to his website, a family friend made him a puppet theatre when he was a child, and Zerdin used it to entertain friends and family.
2. He started practicing ventriloquism a few years later. Zerdin explained someone gave him a book on ventriloquism and he used to spend hours looking in the mirror trying to talk without moving his mouth.
3. He's also a comedian. One of the reasons Zerdin's ventriloquism acts are so entertaining is because he also has a background as a comic and a magician. Zerdin often kept the "AGT" judges and audience laughing with his jokes. Zerdin wrote on his website that he used to work at a magic shop, where he perfected his skills.
4. Producer Nigel Lythgoe was his mentor. When Zerdin was in his 20s, "So You Think You Can Dance" producer Nigel Lythgoe took the aspiring ventriloquist under his wing. Lythgoe helped Zerdin land gigs on "Tonight at the London Palladium," "Prince’s Trust Gala Show" and "Generation Game." He’s also appeared on "The Jerry Springer Show," "The Big, Big, Talent Show" presented by Jonathan Ross and BBC’s "Tricky Business." Zerdin also performed at the Royal Variety Performance in 1997, 2002, and 2009.
5. He calls himself a one-man Muppet sitcom. Zerdin uses three main puppets in his acts. The most popular is Sam, a pre-teen boy, who really impressed judges when he was still able to move and perform after Zerdin walked off stage, leaving Sam sitting on the stool by himself. Check out that performance below. Zerdin also uses the puppets Baby, who loves scary stories, and Albert, and old man who is a huge fan of "gangster rap."