Dustin Tavella is the Season 16 winner of America’s Got Talent!
The Christian magician from Virginia Beach, Virginia was named champion Wednesday night after capturing the hearts of America with his inspiring final act, in which he urged the audience and viewers to spread generosity.
Known for his storytelling magic acts, Dustin first stole America’s hearts with his interactive performance about being a family man, and his dedication to his wife and their adopted sons Xander and Sylas.
But it’s taken years for the 35-year-old to get here. He told Entertainment tonight that he had auditioned for AGT multiple times before finally making the cut for the 2021 show.
— America’s Got Talent (@AGT) June 2, 2021
“This is what I was hoping for. This is what I was praying for,” he told Entertainment Tonight. “… I am so blessed.”
Along with the $1 million prize, Dustin will be headlining show at Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas beginning in November.
His win on Wednesday night was a true demonstration of humility, as the magician says he would have been happy for any of the acts to be the winner.
“I think we all agreed beforehand, like none of us mind losing to each other. There’s a ton of amazing acts on the stage,” he says.
“The whole time, it’s like, ‘Man, it’s an honor to be here. It’s an honor to be here. It’s amazing that we made it this far.’ I think at the last moment, when there are two of us left, it’s this idea of ‘I could win or not win, and I’m excited for who does win.’ But obviously, you hope that it could be you,” the father of two says. “I feel like in that moment, it’s every emotion you could possibly feel.”
For Dustin, it’s always been about Jesus.
“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,” Dustin told YouTube personality Ruslan earlier this year. “[It is to] continue to be intentional with every story we get to tell and every bit of airtime.”
Dustin says magic for him is not some mystical thing for Christians to get up in arms about, but rather a bridge between the Church and those who are un-churched.
“I don’t have powers,” he said. “This is just me trying to have fun and kind of create wonder for people.”
In addition to working with Compassion International, Dustin and his wife, Kari, partner with a homeless ministry and a crisis pregnancy ministry in the Virginia Beach area.
“We just want to help empower people,” he says.