Open main menu

Paul Zerdin (born August 21,[1] 1972) is a British comedian and ventriloquist from London. He was the winner of the 10th season of America's Got Talent.

Paul Zerdin
Born (1972-08-21) August 21, 1972 (age 46)
London, England
OccupationVentriloquist, comedian
Notable work
America's Got Talent (season 10) (Winner)



When Zerdin was 10, a family friend made him a puppet theatre which he used to put on shows. Having failed his GCSEs, Zerdin got a job in a magic shop, developing his magic skills along the way. Simultaneously, he was also developing a sideline as a children's entertainer.[citation needed]

Zerdin made his TV debut as a magician on the BBC's Tricky Business. Shortly afterwards, at the age of 20, Zerdin landed a two-year contract presenting the Disney produced kids' programme Rise and Shine for GMTV.[2]

In 1996, Zerdin was the first outright winner – by over 100,000 votes – of LWT's The Big Big Talent Show, hosted by Jonathan Ross. The experience introduced him to Nigel Lythgoe, who took Zerdin under his wing, paving the way for appearances shows including Tonight at the London Palladium and Generation Game.[citation needed] He secured him a spot on the Prince's Trust Gala Show in 1997.[3] In the 2016-17 Christmas season he played Cinderella's sidekick "Buttons" in the London Palladium production of the pantomime "Cinderella," leading the Radio Times to dub him "inspired casting. His quick wit, rapport with the crowd and astonishing skills with puppet Sam turn the often toe-curling audience participation bits (don’t sit in the front row) into genuinely hilarious moments." [4]

America's Got TalentEdit

In June 2015, Zerdin auditioned for America's Got Talent. His audition consisted of throwing his voice to imitate a sound check malfunction and chatting with his puppet Sam about the judges watching Zerdin's mouth and Sam imitating his words. Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B, and Howie Mandel all voted "Yes," sending him to the Judge Cuts round.

During Judge Cuts Week 3, Zerdin's performance consisted of performing with a baby puppet and telling him a story about Little Red Riding Hood and changing the Big Bad Wolf to a fluffy yellow duck. The performance ended with the baby "urinating." Marlon Wayans liked his performance so much, he hit the Golden Buzzer, sending Zerdin straight to the Quarterfinals.

During Quarterfinals Week 1, Zerdin's performance consisted of conversing with his puppet Sam. Sam and Zerdin had an argument after which Sam refused to talk. To embarrass Sam performing on his own, Zerdin left the stage. While Sam was sitting, however, he appeared to come to life and start talking with the judges. Zerdin then returned, with Sam seemingly lifeless again. Howard, Heidi, Mel B, and Howie all gave him standing ovations. He received enough votes to be sent to the Semifinals.

During Semifinals Week 2, Zerdin's performance consisted of using Howie as a dummy (through a remote controlled mask). Zerdin then switched places with Howie by pretending to be a judge while he forced Howie to twerk and dance on stage. Howard, Heidi, and Mel B gave him standing ovations. Zerdin received enough votes to be sent to the Finals.

During the Finals, Zerdin's performance consisted of performing with Sam's grandpa Albert. He joked about Albert's hearing aid being off, and Albert having issues with his suppository. He then sang a song to make the baby sleep. He then brought Sam out. He swapped voices with Sam. Zerdin then had a conversation with all three puppets at once.

For the finale, Zerdin bantered with Sam and then had Sam "lip-sync" to Terry Fator's singing. He received enough votes to advance to the Top 5 instead of Piff the Magic Dragon. He was revealed to have finished in first place in the competition in front of Drew Lynch, Oz Pearlman, Stevie Starr and The CraigLewis Band, winning one million dollars and a headline residency show in Las Vegas. His headline show "Mouthing Off" ran for four months from May 14 to September 4, 2016 at Planet Hollywood. It closed due to low attendance.[5]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 The Big Big Talent Show Himself Winner
1996 Sooty & Co. Little Cousin Paul
2008 The Convention Crasher Himself
2015 America's Got Talent Himself Winner
2016 America's Got Talent Himself and Guest NBC
Newzoids Himself ITV
2017 Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? Himself and Guest ABC


Year Title Role Venue/ Place Notes
2017–Present Paul Zerdin LIVE Himself Butlins (Minehead, Bognor and Skegness) School Holidays only (Returning for 2018)[6]
2016 Cinderella Buttons The London Palladium
2017 Paul Zerdin All Mouth Himself UK Tour
2017 Dick Whittington Idle Jack The London Palladium
2018 Snow White Muddles The London Palladium


Year Title Role Notes
2018 Karts in Suzuka Sam Zerdin

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Paul Zerdin [@paulzerdin] (21 August 2015). "Thanks for the #birthday wishes. I'm 23 again!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. ^ "British ventriloquist Paul Zerdin wins America's Got Talent". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
  3. ^ Paul Zerdin's biography – Paul Zerdin
  4. ^ "Cinderella review: Paul O'Grady and Julian Clary are spectacularly bonkers ★★★★". RadioTimes. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Zerdin's 'Mouthing Off' to go silent at Planet Hollywood". 24 August 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  6. ^ "February Half Term Breaks - UK Holidays 2019 - Butlins". Butlins. Retrieved 20 September 2018.

External linksEdit