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After Simon Cowell Thought He Was Nervous, America's Got Talent Rap Magician Mervant Vera Clarifies How He Was Really Feeling

Mervant Vera on America's Got Talent
(Image credit: NBC)

The finale of America’s Got Talent Season 17 is fast-approaching, and the last batch of qualifiers (including comedian Jordan Conley with a Disney reference-filled set) will find out their fates just 24 hours after taking the stage with their latest performances. This has been a strong season for singers and magicians in particular, but Mervant Vera managed to combine freestyle rap with magic for his shot at $1 million and the Las Vegas stage show. After his latest card trick + freestyle, judge Simon Cowell commented that Vera was “nervous,” but the performer clarified to CinemaBlend that that’s not what he was feeling. 

Simon Cowell started his comments on Mervant Vera’s qualifiers performance by noting how much he’d loved his audition and that he'd been looking forward to what he’d deliver in the live shows. He then said that he “could hear tonight how nervous you were,” but it made him like Vera “even more.” The upside of Cowell’s feedback was how much he liked the rap magician, even though he said that he detected some nerves. 

When Mervant Vera spoke with CinemaBlend and other outlets following his qualifiers performance, I asked what he thought of Cowell’s feedback and if he felt more nerves this time, and he cleared the air:

I actually didn't! I actually was more excited, but sometimes when you have more of a stationary act like magic, because I'm standing there, that excitement can manifest in like bursting, bursting [motions], and maybe little micro ways of looking nervous. But I was very excited. I can't say I was 100% not nervous. Maybe 5%.

Singers and dancers and acrobats can move about the America’s Got Talent stage as much as they want, but a magician behind a table with props spread out in front of him can’t exactly move around. After seeing his performance (which host Terry Crews got to watch up close as a participant), I’d say that his excitement was more than justified, and most people would be much more than 5% nervous if they had to freestyle rap to a magic act! Other performers can rehearse every step they make and every note they sing, but not so with Mervant Vera. 

And Vera brought a potentially winning combination to America’s Got Talent. Season 17 viewers are clearly loving the magicians, as both Yu Hojin and Nicolas Ribs were already voted to the finale before he took the stage on September 6. Most of the other finalists are musicians of some form or other. 

Plus, Mervant Vera’s command of the stage without jumping around actually reminds me of Season 15 champion Brandon Leake, who made history with his win. Although spoken word and freestyle rap aren’t the same, Vera keeps his cool on stage in a way reminiscent of Leake, and that’s a compliment considering Leake’s win! Take a look at Vera’s qualifiers performance:

The only downside of his performance is that it happened on a very competitive night, with the return of Sofia Vergara’s golden buzzer choice Mayyas, who brought the house down with their routine to close out the night (and may in fact emerge as the top golden buzzer of Season 17). The episode also featured the return of comedian Jordan Conley, who won the wildcard vote and dropped a set full of delightful Disney references.

Throw in the return of pole dancer Kristy Sellars and dancer Max Ostler (who was a favorite of Sofia Vergara’s with his audition), and it was anybody’s game. Tune in to see if Mervant Vera moves on to the finale with the results episode of America’s Got Talent on Wednesday, September 7 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. If you’ve missed any episodes so far, you can catch up with a Peacock subscription.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.