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From his very first performance on America's Got Talent, Dustin Tavella pulled at the Judges' heartstrings. The 35-year-old magician won Season 16 of the show in September 2021, taking home the $1 million grand prize and securing a headlining spot in AGT's show at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
It was more than Tavella's flawless card tricks and unexplainable feats that earned him the top spot. With every performance, the Virginia Beach native tied in inspirational personal stories, often getting the entire AGT cast (Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Sofía Vergara, and Terry Crews) involved.
"[Tavella] winning AGT and getting to do the residency at Luxor Las Vegas is perfect because you're talking about an act which has magic because magicians do so, so well on the strip," Crews told People. "But also for his family. That's what I think Vegas needs: more family. The fact that you can bring your little kids all the way up to your grandparents and come to a Vegas show and have the greatest time ever, with Dustin Tavella. Everyone knows him, and they watched him rise through the ranks, you get to be a part of his wonderful story."
Let's look back at Tavella's most impressive AGT moments, below.
Dustin Tavella's AGT Audition
Tavella blew the Judges away by having them all participate in a performance that was entirely centered around the exact date he adopted his son, Xander.
Dustin Tavella's Quarterfinals Performance
For the Quarterfinals round, Tavella's performance was influenced by how "messy" life could get for him as the father of two adopted sons. With the help of Mandel, an AGT storybook, and a deck of cards, he taught the audience one very important lesson: "There's alway magic to be found in your mess."
Dustin Tavella's Semifinals Performance
Tavella involved each of the Judges in his third performance of the season, which he did with his wife, Kari, in mind. He encouraged them to think of a special person in their lives, which resulted in an unsuspecting postcard trick that left them all shocked.
Dustin Tavella's Final Performance
Tavella used the story of his parents' anniversary to wow the audience with yet another emotionally-charged magical stunt.
Dustin Tavella and Mat Franco Perform at the Finale
For his last performance on Season 16, Tavella collaborated with Season 9's Mat Franco, the first magician to ever win AGT. The two worked together to execute an unexplainable teddy bear trick. And they surprised Judge Sofía Vergara in the process.
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