Mat Franco enjoys the magic of winning 'AGT'
Rhode Island magician Mat Franco spent Thursday soaking in the reality of winning the NBC talent show "America's Got Talent" and the $1 million grand prize that came with it.
He sat down with NBC 10's Dan Jaehnig for a quick interview after a morning of interviews and an appearance on the "Today" show.
"It's just so much all at once. You have winning the show. You have being the first magic act to win 'America's Got Talent.' You have the Vegas show coming up at the end of this month at Planet Hollywood that I'm now going to headline with some of my other favorite acts from the show," Franco said.
"And then, there's this whole million-dollar thing as an afterthought."
Franco, a native of Johnston, was the only magician among six finalists, who were eliminated one by one during the program's live finale that aired Wednesday night on NBC 10. The winner was determined by votes cast by viewers.
During the broadcast, Franco performed a card trick with judge Howard Stern and guest Rosie O'Donnell. He gave each celebrity 10 cards, which they hid in their clothing. Somehow he transferred three of O'Donnell's cards to Stern's stack of cards.
Franco was able to stand out in the competition not just for his magic but his storytelling. He often incorporated the judges into his magic tricks, and he delivered something new every performance.
"Mat Franco had it harder than most of the acts," Stern said on the red carpet after the finale. "The singers, they could sing someone else's song. Every week, Mat had to go out there, create a magic trick that he did in front of millions of people. He wasn't used to that."
"He makes magic sexy and young and current and believable," judge Mel B said.
So how does the 26-year-old University of Rhode Island grad plan to spend some of his prize money?
"I think a vacation's in order," he said.
Franco now lives in Newport. He said he's been interested in magic since at least age 4.