By Nick Venable… Every so often, America’s Got Talent introduces a contestant or two that gets people worked up about the legitimacy of their acts, and for Season 12, that contestant is Thai magician Will Tsai. Appearing on the audition episodes in May, Tsai performed a pretty jaw-dropping iteration of the classic coin matrix illusion, which gained him some skeptical detractors. Perhaps the most notable of those is Internet debunker CaptainDisillusion, who presents an argument that Tsai’s act wasn’t real, even by magic’s standards, and was faked using digital augmentation.
CaptainDisillusion creates videos that tend to disprove the kinds of “too impossible to be true” videos that get shared across social media, and he most recently took aim at Will Tsai, using Tsai’s background as a “visualist” and some footage-based investigating to “prove” that the America’s Got Talent hopeful wasn’t being honest with the judges or audience members. CaptainD even posits network execs being part of it, but we’ll get into that in a bit. Here’s the actual act below, in case anyone is unaware of what went down.
The bulk of CaptainDisillusion’s argument lies in Will Tsai’s day gigs as both a designer of magic tricks for SansMind Magic and as a YouTube entertainer. On one hand, it’s addressed in CaptainDisillusion’s video that SansMind was in a temporary tiff with another company over ownership of a magic trick, and the concept of questionable ethics is hammered home. On the other side of the same hand, claims are made that none of Tsai’s YouTube videos actually feature legitimate slight-of-hand illusions, and that they’re all created using post-production digital effects. Furthermore, Tsai is roundabout-accused of not having publicly performed traditional magic before his America’s Got Talent audition.
The video argument then dives into the table that Will Tsai used on America’s Got Talent played a part in the illusion, as it were. Other magic enthusiasts and trick-debunkers have claimed that Tsai must have been using a specially designed table with a series of small mechanisms that rapidly flip over, allowing for the coin-to-rose-petal effect, as well as the way the coins just appear and disappear without being touched. But CaptainDisillusion purports that, once again, Tsai’s magic is just CGI, as those kinds of tables simply wouldn’t be quick enough to create what America’s Got Talent TV audiences watched in the episode.
Using arguments like mysterious reflections and the table having a top so black that it couldn’t be digitally brightened, CaptainDisillusion argues that not only was Tsai responsible for this, but that NBC’s producers were also invested in digitally manipulating the footage to make it look that much more impossible. Which sounds like a conspiracy until one considers that just about all of reality TV is edited to provide the biggest entertainment boost, regardless of honesty. (And a recent lawsuit doesn’t exactly paint everyone on the show in a lovely light, not that the two are related incidents.)
You can watch the full CaptainDisillusion video below.
What do you guys think? Is Will Tsai in the right, or is Captain Disillusion? Either way, America’s Got Talent airs Tuesday nights on NBC at 8:00 p.m. ET, which includes naked comedy duos. You can non-magically find everything hitting the small screen soon with our summer TV premiere schedule.