America's Got Talent's Paul Zerdin Talks Magic, Puppets and the One Thing You Wouldn't Assume About a Ventriloquist: 'When I'm Off Stage I Don't Talk to the Puppets'
04/18/2016 AT 08:15 PM EDT
Paul Zerdin's – the comedic ventriloquist who won last season of America's Got Talent – puppets may be some of his best friends onstage, but when once that curtain closes, so do their mouths.
"Obviously, I believe that they're real and I want people to believe that they're real in the show and on stage, but when I'm off stage I don't talk to the puppets," Zerdin tells PEOPLE, while gearing up to kick off his Las Vegas residency at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on April 30. "It's like we drive home from the gig and all the puppets are sitting in the seats with their seatbelts on and we're having a chat about how the gig went – that doesn't really happen."
This journey has been nothing but a dream come true for Zerdin, as he started to pursue his life goal when "I was 9 or 10 years old, and I had always been a massive fan of puppets, in particular Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and all those Muppet characters."
"I entered a school talent competition when I was 15, and most people did something like poetry or tap dancing, but I levitated my sister," says Zerdin. "I just blew them away, and from that moment on, I remember the next day in the dining hall when I was going to my lunch I could hear people saying, 'That guy can do magic.'"
But his love for ventriloquism was one that never strayed far from his mind.
"When I left school I became a magician, but at the same time I was still very interested in puppets," he says. "I was given a book on how to become a ventriloquist and so I started learning this."
He continues of the milestone that begun it all: "I introduced the puppet character into my magic show and started doing magic with the puppets, and I eventually stopped doing magic and carried on with the puppets and the stand-up over the course of a few years."
While his famous characters Sam, Baby and Albert are sure to be there by his side, it is a goal to get some of his fellow Las Vegas stars to make surprise guest appearances in the future.
"I would see if Britney Spears would want to come because that would be fun," says Zerdin. "I'm sure she's far too busy, but that would be fun, and maybe Jennifer Lopez and Lionel [Richie], as well."
He jokes, "That would be a good start, wouldn't it?"