A Christian magician was named the winner of America’s Got Talent for his acts about family, hope and generosity. Dustin Tavella won the contest in the closest vote in the talent competition show’s history, receiving a cash prize of $1 million and a Las Vegas show.
Tavella had auditioned for America’s Got Talent multiple times in past seasons before making it on to this season’s show.
“This is what I was hoping for. This is what I was praying for,” he told Entertainment Tonight after his big win. “I am so blessed.”
Each of Tavella’s tricks followed a different theme throughout the season. In his final award-winning trick of the season, he urged the audience to spread generosity, saying that a “small act of kindness can go a really long way.”
— America’s Got Talent (@AGT) September 15, 2021
Tavella also shared with the audience the “power of giving.”
“Giving is the foundation of change,” he said. “Giving your time, giving your resources, giving yourself. You see when someone stepped into my parents’ lives, because they were willing to give, it changed the course of their future, which in turn, changed the course of mine. And that impact has now reached to our two boys. And because of that person, I get to stand on this stage and do what I love.”
Tavella often uses his own faith in his tricks. He spoke with YouTube personality RusIan that his goal with all of his acts is to incorporate positive messages into his illusions.
“When I get to celebrate the principles of God, when I get to celebrate the things that God’s done in our lives, … that, to me, is the main thing that we want to do,” Tavella said. “[It is to] continue to be intentional with every story we get to tell and every bit of airtime.”
The idea of a Christian magician may seem like an oxymoron to many believers, but Tavella assures that he is using what he sees as God-given gifts and talents to spread the Good News. According to Tavella, the difference between his acts and other magicians is that magic tricks involve “cultivating mystery and wonder through sneakiness.” On his website, Tavella explains, “I don’t have powers. This is just me trying to have fun and kind of create wonder for people.”
Tavella and his wife, Kari, also partner with a homeless ministry and a crisis pregnancy ministry.
“We just want to help empower people,” Tavella said, “and we want to be a bridge between the church and the not-church – to get the people not in church into the church, and to get the people in the church, outside of the walls.”