Dustin Tavella had one truly magical night! The talented magician was crowned the new America’s Got Talent champion on Wednesday, and he says it’s all because of the support of the show’s judges.
Tavella took home the season 16 grand prize after a two-hour finale, beating out 16-year-old self-taught aerialist Aidan Bryant and veteran stand-up comic Josh Blue.
The talented illusionist spoke with ET’s Matt Cohen on the carpet after the big night, and admitted that he’d been so caught up in the moment he’d forgotten what the judges told him or what he share with them after his victory.
“[So I’d like to] say thank you to all of the judges for every word of encouragement they’ve spoken,” Tavella said. “I have held all of these words like so close to my heart.”
However, he recalled one bit of advice he’d gotten from Heidi Klum during the feedback after one of his earlier performances in the season, and said it was the key to his eventual success.
“Heidi told me, she said just keep doing you, just be yourself, and I think it was the greatest thing,” he said. “It is so easy to compare yourself to so many other people that you love… [but] I feel like I had permission to be myself and I’m so incredibly grateful that I did.”
And it’s this realization that Tavella feels is key to success, both on AGT and in life. When asked what advice he’d share to other people considering trying out for the show next season, Tavella said, “Be you.”
“Find out what you love, what you’re good at,” he continued. “You’re gonna enjoy doing what you love more than you enjoy trying to be like someone else.”
Tavella also encouraged everyone to stick with their passions.
“Keep going and don’t give up,” he shared. “This was not my first season auditioning for America’s Got Talent.”
Klum reiterated her advice for Tavella with chatting with ET Wednesday night, while explaining why she felt America voted for Tavella to win the season.
“I think what was always great for him was to be honest with us about his family, let us in on his personal life a little bit,” she said. “He always kind of showed his heart, you know ,in all of his acts, and I think people really resonated with that.”
“He is a very good magician so just keep doing what you’re doing,” she added. “I’m gonna come and see you in Las Vegas.”
Here’s a look at all of Tavella’s performances from this season of America’s Got Talent.
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