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Shin Lim continues to be Shin Lim, Shin Lims his way through America’s Got Talent


I think the highest praise I can give Shin Lim is that his routines shouldn’t work. They’re hilariously dramatic, verging on overwrought, and his musical choices channel near lethal levels of cheese. The way he performs oh so slowly while staring languidly into the middle distance like he’s in an aftershave commercial stops just shy of self-parody. I mean just look at the guy.

That’s a face that has transcended smug and entered some post-human era of vainglorious self appreciation. He should be insufferable. And yet, I adore him. He’s easily one of my favorite performers, and not just because his sleights are technically immaculate. According to his website, Lim thinks of himself as a “sleight of hand artist” instead of a magician, and while that might sound like marketing fluff, I think it’s very true. At his best, Lim doesn’t hide his sleights, in fact, he accentuates them with a little pause, a leisurely glance at the camera, a telling half smile tugging at his cheek. “Yeah, I just did that,” he says silently though splayed fingers, “wasn’t it marvellous?”

So yeah, I really like Shin Lim. Also, bad luck to every other magician on this episode of America’s Got Talent.