'America's Got Talent' Winner Shin Lim Still in Shock: 'I Can't Stop Smiling' (Exclusive)

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Shin Lim
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There's magic in the air for the season 13 winner of America's Got Talent.

Magician Shin Lim sat down with ET's Denny Directo on Thursday to relive his unexpected win the night before.

"It's starting to slowly sink in, but it's kind of just a crazy moment. I'm still just so happy, I can't stop smiling," Lim shared.

He also said "words can't describe" the moment when second-place finishers Zurcaroh lifted him up as he was announced the winner, and that he's proud to be part of this season's acts.

"Everyone is so incredible, every single artist just deserved the top, they really do. And I'm honored to be a part of that group," he added.

Lim admitted that he was uncertain about his standing throughout the competition, and expected other front-runners to nab the prize.

"I thought Courtney [Hadwin] was going to win just based on hype," Lim said. "But, all of a sudden, when she didn't make it to the top five, I was like, what? That's insane. And then my second pick was Michael Ketterer, I thought he was also a front-runner or winner, and then he got fifth place. That just kind of did it for me because it took two left turns."

He added, "If they got eliminated, anyone [can] get it."

Magic acts also tend to struggle on the show, something Lim was keenly aware of as he prepared throughout the competition.

"I mean, magicians, in general, don't really do that well on America's Got Talent, especially when it comes to the semis and the finals because it's a little bit different from, perhaps, learning a song or something, or maybe doing a cover of a song," Lim said. "Because you have to actually create from scratch something original, the props, the music, acting. And then the overall trick itself. It is a little bit trickier, but I think the overall thing I experienced was love from the whole cast."

And though  AGT is obviously a competition, there was mutual admiration among the acts.
 
"Everyone was just so supportive and everyone wanted each other to do well. No one was. like. trying to be competitive. Usually in competition shows there's always backstabbing, there's always people talking behind their backs. But in this case, everyone was really, really supportive of each other. And, we all respected each other's skills and talents. And I think that is what made it so special for me," Lim said.

The 26-year-old was also thankful for the judges' encouragement, revealing he almost didn't try out for the show. 

"I thought maybe they won't like me, maybe they wouldn't like my audition act, and I was very surprised and I keep getting surprised," Lim said. "And I just want to thank all of the judges for helping me. I believe because of you guys, I started to change who I was, I started to improve and become a better magician."

One judge, in particular, who helped Lim rethink his approach going into the finals -- the notoriously tough Simon Cowell.

"He told me in the quarterfinals that I needed to, in general, I think he was trying to tell me to get bigger," Lim recalled. "Because I was doing too much stuff at the table, kind of close, very intimate. But for a Vegas show, you do need to show some variety, even if it's just cards. And so, that really sparked something in my brain and that's when I said, 'OK, I have to take a risk,' even though I only had two weeks between semifinals and finale, it's only one week difference. And so I really had to kind of take the risk and just do it."

So what's next for Lim and those skillful hands? Working in Las Vegas with the other contestants, going on the road and a wedding! And you better believe that proposal to fiancee Casey Thomas was pure magic.

"I actually did a trick when I proposed to her," Lim said. "It was actually on stage while she was performing."

He continued, "She was doing her normal routine, and then me and the magician quietly switched without her knowing. And then all of a sudden she sees me on stage, she's like, 'What is this? What are you doing?' And in her routine, she's an ice princess who receives a light from the magician. So instead of the light, I made the light turn into a ring and I said, 'Will you marry me?'"

Even with all the excitement surrounding him, Lim is still humble about the win.

"Thank you so much to every single one of you who voted for me," he said. "I really, really appreciate it. I wasn't expecting it at all to win or to even get this far, so thank you for believing in me and thank you for giving me the confidence to keep going. I love you, guys."

For more on Lim, watch the video below!

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