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Sangsoon Kim Thinks He's a Better Magician Than AGT Veteran Yu Hojin

America's Got Talent just got more competitive, as contestant Sangsoon Kim boasted he was better at magic than a Season 17 finalist — but is he right?

By Caitlin Schunn

Nearly one year ago, an America’s Got Talent Act made history when a magician made it to the finals for the first time ever: Yu Hojin and his bag of tricks duked it out for the one million dollar prize in the Season 17 finale. But now a new competitor is trying his hand at making it to the finale of the competition show, and he has a lot of confidence for one very big reason.

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“Actually, I met Yu Hojin,” Sangsoon Kim said to the Judges. “We kept talking about AGT, and I thought, ‘Oh, I can go, because I’m better [than him].’”

Who is Yu Hojin on AGT?

Hojin made his first appearance on AGT during the seventh round of Auditions last summer. He wowed audiences throughout the season with his illusions, including changing the appearances of objects, like when he changed a ball into a crayon, and then a crayon into a balloon — seemingly out of thin air.

He didn’t have all of the Judges’ love at first, though. Simon Cowell voted “no” at the audition, but later changed his mind as Hojin advanced.

RELATED: The Beautiful Reason Howie Mandel Keeps Doing AGT — Even Though He’s "Jaded"

Sangsoon Kim performing during America's Got Talent.

“I think I helped you,” Cowell said at the time. “By me saying no at the auditions, I think it has pushed you to be a better magician. And I’m very happy to say, on live television, I am officially an idiot.”

What routine did Sangsoon Kim perform on AGT?

It’s unclear when exactly Hojin met Kim, but AGT was clearly on both of their minds. Kim interestingly performs the same style of illusions as Hojin — both of them changing objects in the blink of an eye — leaving audiences dazzled. 

Kim decided to perform his routine to “That’s What I Want” by Lil Nas X. His illusions had a theme, and all involved shoes and shoeboxes. The shoes changed colors and sizes. At once point, laces were added. At another moment, more shoes came out of one shoe.

Related: How Yu Hojin Changed Simon Cowell's Mind During the Live Shows

The slight of hand had all of the Judges and audience on their feet by the end of the routine.

Yu Hojin Shocks The Audience With Jaw-Dropping Magic | NBC's AGT 2022

What did the Judges think of Sangsoon Kim?

“We had a magician on earlier [tonight] who we thought was really boring and unoriginal,” Cowell told Kim. “You are the opposite. Seriously. You’re interesting, original, funny — everything we want on this show. You are brilliant.”

Cowell really appreciated the uniqueness of the magic, adding, “That’s his own act, rather than him doing what everyone else does — that’s him.”

Judge Sofia Vergara agreed with Cowell.

“I think your magic feels fresh,” Vergara said. “It seems also like it’s something very you. For example, I see you wearing the shoes you do. And this for sure we’re going to remember.”

Judge Howie Mandel acknowledged throughout the 18 seasons of AGT, magic is not a new trick to the Judges, but Kim still managed to stand out.

“We see a lot of magic,” Mandel said. “Your friend got to the finals, but we’ve had a lot of winners. So, to dazzle us, it’s harder, and you did that: You accomplished it. You were original and something we’ve never seen before.”

Is Sangsoon Kim really better than Yu Hojin? Watch to see how the Judges voted on America’s Got Talent, airing Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and the next day on Peacock.