It seems backward, you say.
Two magicians from last year's "America's Got Talent" TV contest are performing on the Strip.
The one quickly eliminated during "Vegas week" now has a colorful afternoon show on a spacious stage.
The one who was popular enough to last a few weeks longer, via a wild-card vote of viewer popularity, is working a glorified broom closet.
But don't worry. It's all good. Or at least it will be in the long run. Because I'm not sure it would work the other way around.
Michael Turco offers us yet another spin on the classic illusions in his "Magic and Mayhem" matinee show at the Saxe Theater, on the stage built by magician Steve Wyrick. It's standard stuff, but deftly staged with five female dancers by "Dancing with the Stars" choreographer Lacey Schwimmer. It might be the best Turco can offer.
Seth Grabel does energetic close-up magic in a claustrophobic "black box" venue at the Royal Resort. And when you see him, you think, "If he can be this good in here, imagine how he'd be on a real stage." (Actually, you don't have to imagine because he did some big stuff on "Talent.")
Granted, we're comparing apples to oranges, or boxes to sleight of hand. Turco runs through the basic transportations and bisecting cabinets that are usually the province of Rick Thomas or Dirk Arthur (minus their tigers).
And I can say of Turco what I usually say of those guys: It's fine for first-timers, or those with children seeing their first magic show. (One lad was particularly taken with Turco's climactic snow machine.)
After Twyla Tharp's Sinatra tribute, Schwimmer's special billing may the highest billing ever given a choreographer. Schwimmer doesn't perform in the show, but if you know of her involvement going in you might pay more attention to the featured dance moments; Ashleigh Hunter as a ballerina en pointe before a levitation, or Shana Menkevich's graceful solo before being stuffed into a Japanese-styled box that's pierced with swords.
But the basic rule of a magic show is that it all rides on how much you bond with the magician. Turco is pleasant enough as a glorified master of ceremonies, and his prediction illusion with several audience members is a cool variation on the standard way it's performed.
But you don't really read much of a specific personality, and the hour feels generic. It plays like someone else could step in and do it on Turco's day off.
With Grabel, a substitute would have to learn how to do somersaults down the narrow aisle of a crowded little cabaret venue. Or to flip cards so fast we realize the eye has no chance of being quicker than these hands.
Here too, none of the magic is revolutionary, just card tricks and messing with audience recruits. But a few of them will startle all but the most seasoned magic buff, and all of them are driven by both technique and personality.
Grabel is funny as well as agile, and likeable enough that we even roll with one dubious sequence where he dresses up as a Jerry Lewis sad sack character. And he does begin and end the show with visual illusions, magic enough in a low-ceiling meeting room with no actual stage.
Grabel made the sports car appear and materialized in a tank of water on "Got Talent," so we know he can do all that if he lands a bigger stage on the Strip. But anyone who walks into this room immediately knows they won't see any of that, and perhaps even feel they've been swindled.
And yet, they leave happy. That tells me his future is bright.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at email@example.com or 702-383-0288.