Entertainment & Arts

British ventriloquist Paul Zerdin's shock at America's Got Talent win

Paul Zerdin Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Paul Zerdin wins $1m and the chance to headline his own Las Vegas show

British ventriloquist Paul Zerdin has expressed his shock at winning this year's America's Got Talent.

The 43-year-old Londoner said he was "totally speechless" and "bowled over" to beat nine other acts in the final.

Two other British acts, Stevie Starr - the Professional Regurgitator - and magician John van der Put, who performs as Piff the Magic Dragon, also made it through to the final 10.

Zerdin wins $1m (£645,000) and the chance to headline his own Las Vegas show.

Speaking after his win, he said: "I never thought it would be like this. I just thought I'd nip over to America, have a go at this talent show, and if it didn't work out then I could come home back to the UK and no one would be any the wiser.

"But the one thing I forgot about was social media. Everything filters back and everyone knows everything now."

Stammering comedian Drew Lynch was the runner-up, while Starr finished fourth.

Zerdin was the early favourite to win the talent show following his performances in the initial rounds.

After his performance in the final on Tuesday, judge Howard Stern praised the ventriloquist, saying: "There's a reason Paul breezed through every single time he came on, because he is a master at what he does.

"He's taking the art of ventriloquism to new heights."

Fellow judge and former Spice Girl Mel B added: "You're a well polished act, you're flawless."

Image caption Zerdin appeared on a number of BBC children's programmes in the late 1990s

Zerdin is already a successful, established performer in the UK, having appeared at the Royal Variety Performance three times since 1997.

He is also no stranger to talent shows, having won ITV's The Big, Big, Talent Show - hosted by Jonathan Ross - in 1996.

He appeared on a number of BBC children's programmes in the late '90s and taught Nigel Havers the art of ventriloquism on ITV's recent Get Your Act Together.

Zerdin is the second ventriloquist to win America's Got Talent after Terry Fator in 2007 - who went on to have his own Las Vegas residency at The Mirage hotel worth a reported $100m (£64.5m) over five years.

In 2013 he celebrated his 1000th show at the venue, where he continues to perform.

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