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How AGT Chicken Catcher, Kevin Skinner, Silenced the Audience Singing Garth Brooks

The Kentucky native auditioned with Garth Brooks' “If Tomorrow Never Comes" in 2009 and would go on to win Season 4.

By Jill Sederstrom

When Kevin Skinner took the America’s Got Talent stage in 2009 with stories of catching chickens, the Judges weren’t expecting much. 

How to Watch

Watch America’s Got Talent Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock

But the unassuming Skinner — a self-described “down home kind of country boy" —blew the Judges away with his flawless performance of the Garth Brooks hit “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” 

The crowd-pleasing performance was just Skinner’s first step on his way to being crowned the Season 4 winner of the talent competition, where he took home $1 million in prize money and was awarded the headlining spot in the AGT Las Vegas show. He released his album, Long Ride, in 2010 and has largely stayed out of the spotlight since.

Find out more about how Skinner “the Chicken Catcher” rose to the top, and revisit his unforgettable AGT Audition.

What song did Kevin Skinner sing in his AGT Audition?

AGT fans were first introduced to Skinner, then a 35-year-old “unemployed farmer” from Mayfield, Kentucky, when the show took their auditions on the road to Chicago. 

With the perfect amount of twang, Skinner sang Brooks’ 1989 hit “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” 

Dressed in a casual hooded pullover and a backwards hat, explained how life was “just a bit slower” in the country than in a big city.

I’m a down home kind of country boy, you know, I like hunting fish and (a) type of truck muddin’, things like that,” he told producers. “It can get real interesting.” 

The farmer then took the stage with his guitar in hand. 

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“What are you going to do for us today?” David Hasselhoff, a Judge at the time, asked. 

“I’d like to sing a song for y’all. It’s my Garth Brooks,” Skinner replied. 

Agt Winners Kevin Skinner

But before he could hit his first note, Hasselhoff asked what Skinner did for a job when he wasn’t singing, and the farmer had a surprising answer. 

“Well, I was a chicken catcher up for several years,” he said.

The audience erupted into laughter as Skinner explained that some nights he and his crew of five others caught as many as 60,000 chickens in one night, but the audience was stunned into silence the moment Skinner opened his mouth and began to sing in a rich voice reminiscent of all the top country stars.

The Judges' reactions to Kevin Skinner

When he finished, the audience leapt to their feet as the cheers erupted through the auditorium. The Judges also had some high praise for Skinner. 

Kevin Skinner with the judges of America's Got Talent Season 4

“There’s a moment in every season, I remember them all, when somebody comes on stage dressed like you are and your cap on the wrong way round and we’re all like this is going to be a total car crash and then you start to sing and within about 20 seconds you have me,” Piers Morgan (who Judged from Seasons 1 to 6) told him. “By the end of it, that was one of the most emotional, powerful performances I’ve seen in a long time.” 

Hasselhoff chimed in “me too” before adding that “America deserves to see you.” 

“You’re what this show’s about,” he said.