There are anxious seconds for Christoph Kuch.
You decide whether the magician's great dream will come true.
"Let's hear what you have to say," says the presenter on US television and passes the decision on to the jury.
The tension is at its peak.
From his home in Nuremberg, Kuch is connected to the program “Fool us” (“Leg us in”) by the US master magicians Penn and Teller via video conference.
He stares intently at the monitor.
He's waiting for the one decisive sentence.
And then he actually falls: "You set her up," says the moderator.
Kuch cheers - on his 46th birthday, his great success can be seen on US television on Saturday night German time.
With several amazing mental tricks, the native of Nuremberg has achieved what not many have achieved before him: He wins the main prize in the popular American magician talent show.
He is allowed to appear in Las Vegas with Penn and Teller, who are role models for many magicians around the world.
Only 12 percent of the candidates have come through so far
Her show has been running successfully on the US broadcaster "CW" for ten years now.
Whoever manages to show a magic number on the show that Penn and Teller do not find out how it works will win the appearance in Las Vegas.
Penn once estimated in a US interview that only about twelve percent of the candidates had so far succeeded in duping them.
The magic professionals see through most of the tricks relatively quickly in their show.
In the latest episode of “Fool us”, Kuch can be seen with a scarf over his head at the beginning of his appearance.
The man from Nuremberg himself is silent throughout the number - a tribute to Teller who has never spoken a word on the show for ten years and only expresses himself with gestures.
In the second part of his trick, Kuch pulls out a bundle of cards.
Everyone has a profession.
A spectator can freely choose a card - Astronaut is on it.
Kuch pulls the cloth over his head and stands there with a large astronaut helmet.
In the last part of the roughly five-minute number, Kuch presents six objects numbered from one to six.
The viewer may then roll a number.
It's the three.
The number is in front of a plush fish.
Kuch takes off the astronaut's helmet and spits a live goldfish out of his mouth into a glass.
It all started with a children's magic box
"What a crazy number" ("What a weird ass act"), Penn comments on the performance - but initially thinks he knows how the number works.
Kuch only had to explain to the jury in advance how everything would work.
"I had built in a few things to lead the two magicians on the wrong track," says Kuch, who leaves open how much of the goldfish trick is illusion and reality.
Got a magic box as a child: mental magician Christoph Kuch
Only a few previous winners were able to start an international magician career after the show.
Kuch dreams of this too.
"That I managed to" fool "both of them feels good, of course, and is confirmation of the hard work of the past few years," says Kuch.
As a child he was given a magic box.
The magic never let go of him since then.
“My family had to endure an infinite number of magic tricks,” says Kuch, who lives in Stein in the Fürth district.
The business graduate with a focus on business psychology worked for several years on the effects that he showed in “Fool Us”.
Even his family doesn't know exactly how the tricks work.
"Only when I had perfected the number did I agree to Penn and Teller, whose editors had already asked me several times".
In fact, Kuch won the German Magic Art Championship in 2011 and the World Championship in the Mental Magic division in 2012.
Then he quit his job to devote himself entirely to magic.
He has already appeared on German television several times and runs a magic school with colleagues in Nuremberg.
What exactly Penn and Teller suspected behind his trick, neither Kuch nor the TV viewers learn.
"All tricks remain secret in the program, so Penn and Teller's advice is also hidden - the jury then determines whether they typed right or wrong," explains Kuch.
In his case the magicians, whose full names are Penn Fraser Jillette and Raymond Joseph Teller, were wrong, according to the jury.
Because of the Corona restrictions, Kuch was unable to present his appearance directly in the American TV studio.
The trick was recorded in the fall of last year in the Stuttgart Renitenztheater with 20 spectators.
Pandemic creates uncertainty
"The producers from America gave the instructions to the German TV crew in Stuttgart via a video conference and monitored everything very closely," says Kuch.
“I didn't know who was sitting in the audience, who would draw the cards or take the dice,” he assures us.
It is important to the makers of the show that no one can cheat.
When exactly Kuch will be allowed to perform his number again in Las Vegas with Penn and Teller in front of a large audience depends on the pandemic situation. Will he then reveal to the two magicians face to face how his magic number really works? Kuch says: "If you ask me, I say: Come on, type again."