I think it’s fair to say that Olivia Munn and Shin Lim are beautiful people (and talented people: Shin Lim is obviously amazing, but Munn is absolutely superb in The Newsroom). Thus, Olivia Munn watching Shin Lim perform one of his beautiful routines takes us into a realm of previously theoretical beauty that might just destroy your retinas.
To spare you this fate, the clip above occasionally cuts back to Simon Cowell, whose strange, hobgoblin proportions are an excellent antidote to the dancing angels on the stage.
You might have noticed that my descriptions of Shin Lim’s performances have been getting stranger with each passing week. That’s because writing about Shin Lim is incredibly hard. He’s just great. Really good. Look at that video. How do I describe that? “Shin Lim continues to be Shin Lim?” I’ve already made that joke.
The boffins running America’s Got Talent have clearly come to the same conclusion, as this clip was “leaked” ahead of time as a trailer for the upcoming episode.
— America's Got Talent (@AGT) July 3, 2018
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.
While Britain’s Got Talent dropped two magic acts from the competition last night, Asian magicians were keeping the dream alive on the show’s American counterpart.
Shin Lim set a crazy high bar just by, you know, being Shin Lim. That elegant sleight-of-hand routine set to Un Nouveau Soleil by M83 is a perfect example of why the Canada-born, Singapore-raised magician is so highly regarded in magic circles. That and the fact he’s a FISM winner. Oh, and stuff like this.
But while several people think Lim deserves to win the competition outright, he had stiff competition from Asia’s Got Talent winner, The Sacred Riana, whose act speaks for itself.
The 25-year-old illusionist from Jakarta, Indonesia, isn’t a flashy technician like Lim, but instead sells her tricks with a cool Ringu-inspired persona, complete with plenty of head twitching and spooky glares. You’d think the gimmick would get old, but Riana took Asia’s Got Talent by storm last year. Her appearance on AGT has prompted some to complain that winners from other regions should not be allowed to compete.
Oh, and if you’re wondering how Simon Cowell can appear in two different shows in two different continents on the same night, he can’t teleport and he doesn’t have an identical twin. The audition stages of the show are actually recorded weeks in advance.
Whether it’s the synth sounds of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall” or the seemingly effortless ways Shin Lim and his friends defy the laws of physics, this is one smooth video. Shin’s put out a few compilation videos from his Instagram exploits, but this has to be his best one yet, combining some stellar sleight of hand and incredible cardistry. Bob your head to the video above, or get instant updates directly from his Instagram feed here.
So many videos, so little time. Here’s a selection of magic-related vids we missed this week, or that didn’t warrant their own article:
I admit, there’s a tiny part of me that wants to see magic pranks go wrong, especially when they involve fake animal abuse. In this video, veteran magician, Murray SawChuck, runs into a noble security guard who won’t let his abuse of a spring-loaded skunk slide.
Sleight of hand genius, Shin Lim, gave a 15-minute-long interview to a Toronto-based magazine with the worst audio setup in the world. I strongly suggest you soldier on through the echo-laden video, as the FISM Close-Up magic champion is full of good advice.
Here’s a cool motion trailer for The Magic Order, the new comic from Kick-Ass scribe, Mark Millar. In the comic, a dysfunctional family of magicians must come together to defend the earth from a supernatural threat. The first issue hits shelves July 13th.
Darcy Oakes absolutely killed it on Showtime at the Apollo. The Winnipeg-born magician has been going from strength to strength since he made the finals in series 8 of Britain’s Got Talent in 2014.
In 2015, Shin Lim was crowned the co-FISM World Champion of Card Magic, and just two weeks later, he received a standing ovation on Penn & Teller’s Fool Us. The routine he performed on both occasions, The Dream Act, would catapult the Canadian-born, Singapore-raised illusionist to magic stardom. Thanks to the eternal memory of the internet, you can see The Dream Act it in its entirety in the video above.
Think you’ve got fast enough fingers to perform the act yourself? Lim is selling a bundle that includes all the gimmicks needed to perform the routine and a tutorial on trick mechanics, atmosphere, music selection and lighting.
Magicians can do some plenty of nifty moves with a pen, but Inkling by Abdullah Mahmoud takes it to another level. In the trailer, featured performer Alex Loschilov shows the various ways that this ink displacement gimmick can surprise an audience. After drawing two lines of ink on his forearm, Loschilov seems to simply flex and make the lines cross into an X. He demonstrates a few other applications of the gimmick, such as different ways that the ink marks can combine into new drawings or making the ink disappear and replacing it with a physical object. All of the iterations look pretty smashing.
Shin Lim Magic is putting out Inkling, and it will ship from retailers such as Vanishing, Inc. on March 19. For $34.95, you can pre-order the gimmick and online instructions, which include an appearance by Mr. Lim himself. According to the product listing, some DIY is required to use Inkling.
If you’d rather try your luck to snag Inkling for free, then head on over to Magic Orthodoxy’s YouTube channel. He’s running the giveaway through March 18 at 12 am MST. Check out his video for the full details of how to enter the contest. Good luck!
San Francisco’s WALW public radio station hosted an interview with Shin Lim. The card-slinging magician was the guest on the show Work with Marty Nemko, talking about his journey to becoming one of the world’s greatest. From secretly practicing in the bathroom to the importance of entertainment as an emotional escape, Lim is just as charismatic in conversation as he is on stage. Listen to the whole episode here.
Shin Lim has been busy lately; he just released his Regalia deck, performed for New Zealand audiences, and updated 52 Shades of Red to version three. Right now, he’s in Sydney and has been filming a bunch of the magic he’s seen. You can check it out in this newly uploaded video, along with a compilation of tricks from his recent Instagram posts.
Shin Lim’s 52 Shades of Red routine is a stunning meld of performance art and sleight of hand, and it’s been made available for the public to purchase and learn for themselves for a while now. Lim has been hard at work developing the third update to the routine, and on December 8 it’ll be on his personal online store, replacing the nearly-out-of-stock V2 edition. If you want a sneak peek at what it includes, watch the video above. Don’t worry about getting Rick Rolled, the good stuff shows up just a little bit after Shin Lim has a little fun with the video.