The full list of all of the ‘America’s Got Talent’ winners
Debuting in 2006 to provide a larger, and more impactful talent competition unlike ever before, America’s Got Talent aired on NBC and instantly became a ratings hit. Showcasing a number of different talents from around the world, the show, produced by Syco Entertainment owner Simon Cowell has propelled several acts to success.
While many of the winners of the talent show have been singers, there have been some other interesting winners over the course of 16 seasons. The judges and hosts have come and gone over the years, but the show still succeeds in highlighting the various kinds of talent around the world. Here are the winners of America’s Got Talent since its first season.
Season 1: Bianca Ryan
Bianca Ryan was only 11 years old when she wowed with a stellar rendition of the Dreamgirls classic, “And I Am Telling You”. Receiving unanimously positive feedback from judges Brandy Norwood, David Hasselhoff, and Piers Morgan, Ryan advanced week after week and was eventually crowned the first winner of the talent competition. She continues to sing, and has dabbled in acting on Broadway.
Season 2: Terry Fator
Terry Fator’s entrance was met with rolled eyes as he walked on the stage to perform. However, after a ventriloquy act involving a puppet singing “At Last”, the world quickly fell in love. Easily one of the most identifiable and successful winners in the history of the series, Fator went on to sign a multi-million dollar contract at Las Vegas’ The Mirage, and has become one of the highest paid comedians of all time.
Season 3: Neal E. Boyd
Wowing the judges with his powerful rendition of the classic “Nessun Dorma”, Neal E. Boyd’s operatic vocals had David Hasselhoff pronouncing him the “front runner” for the grand prize. He became a fan-favorite throughout the course of the third season. After his win, he continued to release music and perform in Las Vegas. He died in 2018 as a result of heart failure and kidney disease.
Season 4: Kevin Skinner
There hasn’t been much news about Kentucky native Kevin Skinner in a couple of years. He auditioned with Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes” and after winning, requested his cash prize be put into an annuity, so it would be paid out over 40 years. His album, “Long Ride”, was released in March of 2010.
Season 5: Michael Grimm
The third singer to win the grand prize, Michael Grimm, had already released albums before his audition in 2010. Beating out then-child singer Jackie Evancho, Grimm requested for a one-time lump sum of his cash earnings, part of which he used to build his grandparents a new house. He continues to perform today, and one of his career highlights includes opening for Stevie Nicks.
Season 6: Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.
Jazz singer Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. auditioned for America’s Got Talent in the only clothes he had left after his house was just robbed. With his smooth and commanding vocals, Murphy continued to advance each week, eventually winning the competition with his cover of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”. After his win, he signed to Sony and Columbia and continues to tour across various countries.
Season 7: Olate Dogs
After four consecutive years of singers winning the talent competition, father-son duo and dog trainers, Richard and Nicholas Olate, emerged victorious as the seventh season’s winners. Featuring a doggy conga line and a dog performing multiple backflips, Olate Dogs melted the hearts of the judges and viewers. They continue to perform in venues across the country.
Season 8: Kenichi Ebina
Kenichi Ebina was the first foreign act to win America’s Got Talent. The Tokyo-born dancer greatly impressed the judges with his unique matrix-style performance and beat out the other performers with new dance plots. After winning the show, he released an app called Dance-ish Me and has not stopped dancing around the country.
Season 9: Mat Franco
Another hugely successful winner, magician Mat Franco, won the competition in 2014 and starred in an NBC special, Mat Franco’s Got Magic the following year. He is a mainstay in Las Vegas and headlines a magic show at The LINQ Hotel and Casino. The hotel later changed the name of the theater he performs in, calling it Mat Franco Theater. He is one of the highest-rated magicians in Las Vegas today and has won the Best Magic Show Award at the Best of Vegas Awards.
Season 10: Paul Zerdin
British ventriloquist Paul Zerdin won the tenth season of America’s Got Talent and headlined his very own show at Planet Hollywood, but poor attendance cut the show’s run to four months. Now, Zerdin performs frequently in the UK and has showcased his act on Disney Cruises.
Season 11: Grace VanderWaal
Singer and ukeleleist Grace VamderWaal won the hearts of the public with her charming personality and talent. After winning the competition at 12 years old, she has gone on to attain large success and fame. She headlined several sold out shows at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, has released a Billboard-charting EP and album, and led the Disney Plus musical, Stargirl. She has opened for big names such as Imagine Dragons and Florence and the Machine.
Season 12: Darci Lynne
The first female ventriloquist to win the show, young Darci Lynne Farmer further cemented her America’s Got Talent legacy by emerging the runner-up on the America’s Got Talent: The Champions competition. She has achieved fame through her voice acting, singing and ventriloquy, and tours nationwide.
Season 13: Shin Lim
The second magician to win the show, Shin Lim also won The Champions competition the following year. Lim has enjoyed success in Las Vegas, with a residency at the Mirage Casino Hotel. He performs in the Terry Fator Theatre, named after season two winner.
Season 14: Kodi Lee
Singer and pianist Kodi Lee earned the Golden Buzzer for his emotional performance of Leon Russell’s “A Song For You”. He is the first autistic person to win the show and continues to raise awareness for the autistic community. He has performed publicly a few times since his win and can be seen on TikTok having fun with his siblings.
Season 15: Brandon Leake
Winning the competition in 2020, Brandon Leake was the first spoken word poet to be on America’s Got Talent, earning the Golden Buzzer from judge Howie Mandel. He has performed in several countries and continues to promote and showcase his published poetry.
Season 16: Dustin Tavella
The most recent winner of America’s Got Talent is magician Dustin Tavella, who is the third magician to win the show after Mat Franco and Shin Lim. Much of his performances revolve around his personal life and the adoption of his two sons.