To say that Terry Fator is living the American Dream just isn’t specific enough. The 54-year-old entertainer from Dallas, Texas, could have easily spent his professional life in relative obscurity playing county fairs and opening for big country music acts as they toured through the South. Because, really, what place in the pop cultural landscape could a ventriloquist who uses his puppets to impersonate musical stars carve out?

Along came America’s Got Talent and niche performers were able to showcase their skills and explode as mainstream acts as never before. Fator, who won season two of the show, wowed the audiences with puppet characters like Vikki the Cougar, a scantily-clad 49-year-old who sings the songs of younger female pop stars, and Winston the Impersonating Turtle, arguably his most iconic character.

After AGT, Fator sold out a run of shows at the Las Vegas Hilton (now Westgate). This led to one of the biggest deals in Las Vegas entertainment history when he signed a $100 million, five-year contract with The Mirage. That was over a decade ago and Terry Fator is still living the Las Vegas dream.

The Mirage, 7:30 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., starting at $59.99 plus tax and fee, 5+. 702.792.7777