Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Magician in British show's semifinals

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WINNIPEG magician Darcy Oake, who gained international fame for his appearance last month on Britain's Got Talent, has advanced to the show's semifinals.

On Sunday, the 26-year-old illusionist was named one of BGT's 45 semifinalists, which also include 18 singers and 12 dance acts. British bookies have already listed Oake's odds of winning the 250,000-pound grand prize at 10-to-1.

Live semifinals will be held in London between today and Thursday.

Oake's initial performance last month was seen by some 11 million viewers on BGT and millions more when the YouTube version of the act went viral. During the performance, which left even the notoriously blunt judge Simon Cowell agog, Oake made several doves appear out of thin air before replacing some of the birds with a female assistant.

"I have no idea how you did that, which is frustrating. It was fantastic. I loved it!" said judge David Walliams at the time.

"You weren't corny, you were very different, and I think we have uncovered a star with you, I really do," Cowell told Oake.

Oake, the son of longtime Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Scott Oake, said he flew across the ocean to enter the contest as a means to change his life. After 15 years of perfecting his craft -- the magician has performed in Las Vegas, New York and the famous Magic Castle in California -- Oake became an overnight success story.

Oake, who was in London for Sunday's show, could not immediately be reached for comment. Last month he told the Free Press: "It's been insane. It's crazy. It leaves me speechless, the amount of people who've been reaching out."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 26, 2014 A4

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