A Conversation with Oz Pearlman

Oz Pearlman Mentalist AGT

Mentalist and “AGT” alum Oz Pearlman stopped by “Jake’s Take” for “A Conversation!” (Photo property of NBC, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO Entertainment)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

Currently, the America’s Got Talent: All-Stars Tour is heading across the country entertaining fans of all different ages.

In all honesty, I (along with countless fans) wished that the All-Stars Tour Powers-That-Be asked mentalist and magician Oz Pearlman to join the previously announced America’s Got Talent (AGT) alums on the tour.

During the Summer of 2015, the New York-based former Wall Street whiz enchanted and shocked America with his outstanding routines that enchanted not only the AGT judges (Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B & Howie Mandel), but the Radio City Music Hall audience as well.  Before taking third place in the competition, Oz collaborated with fellow magicians Derek Hughes and Piff the Magic Dragon with an impeccable trick that featured Vegas-based magicians Penn & Teller and AGT: Season Nine Champion Mat Franco.

In this edition of A Conversation, Oz shared some of favorite memories from AGT, how it felt to be on Howard Stern’s final season and what can his fans expect from him in 2016.

Jacob Elyachar: How have you grown as a performer since your auditioned for “AGT”?

Oz Pearlman: I have grown leaps and bounds since I auditioned. One of the biggest ways that I have grown was the opportunity to perform on the Radio City Music Hall stage four times. It is one of the planet’s most iconic theatres and every time that I performed on that stage, I grew accustomed to the atmosphere: which included a camera that was pointed to the 12,000,000 to 14,000,000 people watching at home LIVE! It also helped me grow a backbone, because a lot of the tricks that I performed were risky and interacted with the judges (which were NOT IN ON THE TRICK).  Now, that I returned to performing my regular gigs, they are not as nerve-wracking since I have my Radio City Music Hall experience behind me.

JE: Let’s talk about some of your routines. What were some of the challenges that you faced while preparing for your Radio City Music Hall performances? How did you overcome them?

OP: The biggest challenge that I faced while I was on AGT was coming up with material that would be acceptable to the show’s audience. During my time on AGT, I performed on live television. I was given a very short timeslot and I had to build drama around my act. For my routine, I had to make the audience aware of what I was going to do and then, build an arc around my act. Singers can perform a song in 90-seconds, however, I had to explain what the premise was and then read their minds. The hardest part of my AGT experience without a doubt was coming up with material. My material had to have multiple climaxes. The tricks that the audience saw me do were divided in numerous parts. In the first part, I tried to something that kind of impressed the audience. But, then I had them at “WOW!” and then I ended my act with something they did not expect. For example, when I performed my routine with the gumballs, there was a receipt that had all four of the judges’ numbers on it! I hoped that the audience were blown away and did not anticipate the surprising finish. That was my goal every time I stepped onto the Radio City Music Hall stage.

Oz Pearlman with Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel

Mentalist Oz Pearlman posed with Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum before a taping of “America’s Got Talent.” (Photo property of Oz Pearlman)

JE: What were some of your personal highlights from your time on “AGT”?

OP: One of my major highlights from my AGT experience was meeting all of the contestants and all the time that we spent together. Another one was Heidi Klum touching my face! (Laughs) I also think a major milestone for me was overcoming the nerves that were associated with the performance. Being up on the AGT stage was a nerve-wracking experience and as comfortable it may seem on the outside, inside I was freaking out.

JE: You had the privilege of being a contestant on Howard Stern’s final season on “AGT.” How did his critiques help you improve your act?

OP: It was amazing to have Howard judge me. But, I was very sad that in both my semifinal performance and my finale performance that I did not get to hear any of his feedback. The judges’ feedback was all about timing, logistics and which judge got to deliver feedback. I was really bummed because I wanted to hear his feedback. Howard told it like it is! Even when he was a little politically correct, as you could probably tell with some of the finalists that he did not particularly liked, he did not deliver a complement…. he delivered wishy-washy statements.  However, if he really did like your act, he was really impressed and gave out complements. I took his comments the most to heart. During the quarterfinals, he gave me constructive criticism and to tighten up my routine and I think that his advice helped me get into the finals.

JE: As this year winds down, what can your fans expect from you?

OP: Right now, I am traveling all over the country! My schedule was packed before AGT and now it has gotten fuller. Unfortunately, the majority of my schedule is filled with private appearances. I do a lot of corporate events and private parties. Right now, it will be tough for most of my fans to see me, but going into 2016…..I am definitely planning a show that will be open to the public! Whether it is a tour or a show in New York, we are actively figuring it out! Once, we figure everything out, I will announce it on both social media and my website! I will take the routines that you saw on the Live Shows to a whole different level! I also hope to incorporate something that you did not see me do on AGT: audience participation! I had a lot of people ask me: “Why could you not read the audiences’ minds?” The reason why I could not read the audience’s minds were that I had a lot of time constraints, it took a minute or more to introduce the story and that would not have left enough time for me to pick random audience members. So, that is why I stuck to reading the judges’ minds!

JE: If you had the chance to meet an aspiring performer who is interested in working in the entertainment industry, what advice would you share with them?

OP: I would tell them that they need to be very passionate about what they are doing! You also have to be very open to constructive criticism. When I look back when I first started on my journey five years ago, I actually tried out for America’s Got Talent. Despite the fact that I did not even make it to the Judges’ round in 2010, I was the second runner-up on the show’s tenth anniversary season! Did I get much better in the five-year time frame? Maybe, maybe not! However, I gained a lot more confidence in my abilities as both a mind reader and a performer. Also, you need to be realistic with your goals. You should not be afraid to ask people that are in your same profession that you look to and aspire to be for advice. Persistence pays off! I have known people who were very persistent that eventually were mentored or helped by someone in their field that they became friends with! When I first quit my job, I did not think that it was even possible to become a full-time magician I thought that was crazy and only David Copperfield could do that!  However, I met people in my profession that can be full-time magicians and it gave me confidence that I could achieve the same goals. A lot of the time, do not be scared to ask! Send your potential mentor a very nice note and say: “I would love to pick your brains for 10 minutes!” and you would be amazed on how often it works!

For more information about Oz, visit his website!

You can also connect with Oz on social media! Visit his Facebook, Instagram & Twitter channels! 

Video of Oz’s gumball routine is property of NBC, SYCO Entertainment and FremantleMedia North America.

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  1. […] Jacob Elyachar: It has been four years since we last down for “A Conversation.” How have you grown as a performer since we last spoke? […]

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