AGT Crowns a Champion! Shin Lim on His History-Making Victory: 'How the Hell Did I Win This?'
"I owe everything to AGT. I'm pretty much an AGT fan forever now," the Champions winner tells PEOPLE
Fresh off winning season 13 of AGT, the 27-year-old magician was crowned best in the world. Lim makes history as the first contestant to win two Got Talent franchises in consecutive order.
“It’s crazy, to be honest. I still have to pinch myself. First winning AGT was crazy to me, but winning Champions was even more crazy. It’s very overwhelming and super exciting,” Lim tells PEOPLE.
Also making it to the top 5 were Preacher Lawson (fifth place), Cristina Ramos (fourth place), Kseniya Simonova (third place) and Darci Lynne Farmer, who was named the runner-up.
“To be honest, when I’m watching back all the acts, my fiancée Casey and I are like, ‘How the hell did I win this?’ Everyone is so good, if not better. Some of the acts were better than me,” he says. “I don’t think I can call myself the champion of champions because I don’t really believe it. I mean, Deadly Games is throwing knives and I’m just doing card tricks! I kind of don’t believe it, but I guess I just have to get used to it.”
Just five months ago, viewers watched Lim’s dreams come true when he was named the season 13 winner. Reflecting on his “crazy” trajectory, Lim says winning Champions was “almost like déjà vu.”
The star adds, “Because they were shot so close to each other, it felt like I was reliving the process all over again. All the stress from AGT and then Champions, I feel so relieved it’s all over.”
People may be surprised to learn that Lim initially declined to be on Champions.
“I’m glad I didn’t and decided to go for it,” Lim says, laughing. “I initially turned Champions down because I wanted to do new stuff, I didn’t want to do repeat acts. But I decided to do it and see what happens. I thought, ‘When am I going to have a chance to do this? All the winners compete against each other, this is such a rare opportunity.’ To be part of it is an honor.”
Even more surprising is the fact that he didn’t even want to compete on season 13 at all.
“Casey convinced me to do AGT because, at first, I wasn’t going to do it. I owe it all to her,” Lim says. “She helped me so much throughout season 13, she really did help me. I owe everything to AGT. I’m pretty much an AGT fan forever now.”
Once the whirlwind elation of his back-to-back wins wears off, Lim will be taking some time off for his August wedding.
“We’re definitely way behind in terms of getting stuff ready for it because we’ve been so busy. But we’ve been trying to pick the flowers and the food menu,” he says.
In addition, he’s gearing up for his future gigs and working on elements of his shows that have room for improvement, including the “showmanship part of it, the storytelling and making the show bigger.”
Lim adds, “I’m trying to focus more on that for my solo shows. Everything is just close up with cards, and people like that, but you need some variety.”
When AGT season 14 premieres this summer, the judges panel will look a lot different.
Actresses Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union will be replacing Mel B and Heidi Klum. Champions host Terry Crews will also be replacing emcee Tyra Banks. Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel are set to return.
“I’m actually very happy that they’re having him as a host,” Lim tells PEOPLE of Crews. “He’s super nice, professional, funny and a great guy overall.”
Lim adds, “It’s going to be unfortunate seeing Heidi and Mel go. I’m sure [Hough and Union] will be great.”