Tonight, America gets the chance to vote for their favorite act on Season 9 of America’s Got Talent and our vote is with magician Mat Franco! Last week, we featured a video of Franco performing tricks at our Newport, RI store followed by the first part of this interview with him where we learned about his life-long love of magic. Now, as we conclude our three-part series with the show’s last magician standing, we delve into his experience on America’s Got Talent and anticipate the next stage in his path of life with excitement. Read on for a sneak peak into life as an AGT contestant and don’t forget to vote for Mat Franco during tonight’s show at at 9PM EST!
What was it like auditioning for America’s Got Talent?
It was a crazy experience. I’m a live performer so being in front of all the cameras at the Dolby Theater where they shoot the Academy Awards and having 4 celebrity judges front and center -it was a pretty surreal experience! I was taken in by the whole moment. I just wanted to take advantage of it as best I could.
I imagine performing in front of the judges and audience can be nerve wracking! What do you do to help ease your nerves?
Sometimes I’ll do hundreds of shows a year, so before I went to the Los Angeles audition, I said to friends and family “I wont be nervous, I’m just going to treat it like any other show” … not true! But I tried my best to go through it in my mind and imagined being in the moment before I was actually there. I tried to imagine what it would be like and I think that was helpful. Although, I really couldn’t have imagined its’ magnitude accurately!
How do you decide what tricks to perform for the judges and audience?
The tricks that I did in my audition and during judgment week were not tricks that I’ve done before. They were customized specifically for the show. So I didn’t have to decide what tricks to do, I had to create them! I really enjoyed the challenge of creating content specifically tailored for America’s Got Talent. First, having to develop material that works well on television, which is completely different than in person and then fitting those tricks into the time constraints that TV brings. It’s a more difficult process but I was able to write the story that I did in my audition in 1 or 2 sittings and I was able to make it happen!
Being on a national TV show can certainly induce a lot of pressure. Have your family and friends been supportive?
My family and friends have been incredibly supportive and the support I’ve felt from Rhode Island in general has been out of control. I almost don’t know how to handle all of the love I’ve been getting! I’m just a normal guy; I wake up, hang out with friends and family and do some magic tricks for people. Being chosen to do this national TV show feels like I’ve been plucked from obscurity, it’s just unreal. I almost feel like, why me?
Now that you’ve been on the show, do you find yourself being recognized in public? If so, is it a surreal experience?
I do and it’s a bit strange! During the summer I’m not traveling to perform at colleges, I get to spend time here in my hometown of Newport, which is great. It’s crazy that people know my name. I’m interested to see what happens when I begin traveling again. I think it will be even more strange if it’s happening at airports and in other parts of the country as well!
The winner of America’s Got Talent receives a $1 million prize. If you were to win, where do you see yourself?
I’ve performed for all different types of people over the years and during the past few years focused on the university audience. America’s Got Talent has given me the opportunity to see what the rest of America thinks and I can’t help but wonder. I’m interested to see what kind of opportunities come out of it, to roll with the punches and see where things go!