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We've seen many unforgettable Acts take the stage on America's Got Talent since the show first premiered in 2006. But through all the Red and Golden Buzzer performances, funny times, and viral moments, there's a select group of people who've stood out above the rest. Yes, we're talking about our 17 talented champions.
Let's go down memory lane and revisit every single AGT winner and catch up on what they're doing today.
Season 1, Bianca Ryan
Ryan was just 11 years old when she became the first-ever winner of America's Got Talent. Her larger-than-life vocals and renditions of classics like Dreamgirls' "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and "I Am Changing" stunned Judges and viewers, leading to her victory. After multiple vocal surgeries and a paralyzed vocal cord stalled her career for 10 years, Ryan returned to the stage on AGT: Champions in 2020. And in a recent Instagram video, she revealed to her followers that new music is coming sooner rather than later.
Season 2, Terry Fator
Talent: Ventriloquist, singing impressionist
With his collection of puppets, knack for comedy, and spot-on impersonations of everyone from Etta James to Kermit the Frog, Fator took home the $1 million grand prize in 2007. He's since been a guest Act on six different seasons of AGT and has had residencies at the Las Vegas Hilton and The Mirage. He currently headlines a new show, Who's the Dummy Now, at the New York, New York Hotel and Casino in Vegas.
Season 3, Neal E. Boyd
Talent: Opera singer
After clinching the winning title for his powerful vocal chops—he auditioned with Puccini’s "Nessun Dorma"—the opera singer took home the $1 million grand prize and headlining spot in a show at MGM's Grand Garden Arena. He'd go on to release an album in 2009, My American Dream, and ran for the Missouri House of Representatives twice. Boyd passed away in 2018 at the age of 42.
“We are very saddened to hear that one of our AGT family members, Neal E. Boyd, has passed away," AGT said in a statement. "Our hearts are with Neal’s loved ones during this difficult time.”
Season 4, Kevin Skinner
Talent: Singer, guitarist
It was unassuming chicken catcher Kevin Skinner who won the hearts of America in 2009. From his audition singing Garth Brooks' "If Tomorrow Never Comes," Skinner proved he had the voice of the most seasoned country stars. Skinner released his album, Long Ride, in 2010, but has largely stayed out of the public eye since.
Season 5, Michael Grimm
Talent: Singer, guitarist
The blues singer's soulful vocals catapulted him to the top spot in the competition. He then headlined the first-ever America's Got Talent Tour. Since his win, Grimm has released multiple albums and toured all across the country. The 43-year-old also competed on AGT: The Champions 2 in 2020. In addition to an upcoming performance at Las Vegas' Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center, he recently announced a small Alaskan tour in April.
Season 6, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.
Murphy's knack for effortless renditions of Sinatra led to a $1 million win and a headlining show at Caesars Palace. In the years since, he's released four albums, including his 2011 debut That's Life, which reached number one on the Billboard jazz charts. Nowadays, he uses his platform to give back to his native West Virginia. He also tours all around the world, with upcoming concerts in Dubai and Florida.
Season 7, Olate Dogs
Talent: Dog tricks
After several seasons of singing Acts taking home the AGT crown, Olate Dogs broke the streak. America couldn't resist father-son duo Richard and Nicholas Olate and their pack of agile fury friends. The group has since participated in various tours around the country, even partnering with the Humane Society, but they've kept a low profile since 2018.
Season 8, Kenichi Ebina
From his first performance on the AGT stage, fans were mesmerized by Kenichi Ebina. His robotic Matrix-style dance audition went viral, with more than 124 million views on YouTube (the most of any Act in the show's history). He returned to our screens on AGT: Champions in 2019. Now, the "dance-ish performing artist" (as he's always called himself) tours all around the world, from Japan to Dubai. He even lends his skills to productions as a choreographer and artistic director.
Season 9, Mat Franco
Franco was the very first magician to win the show, stumping the Judges and fans with his charisma and unexplainable illusions and card tricks. He's had a residency at Vegas' The LINQ Hotel since 2015 and has had multiple guest appearances on AGT, including a performance with the show's most recent winner, Dustin Tavella.
Season 10, Paul Zerdin
During the show's milestone 10th season, Zerdin became the first-ever Golden Buzzer Act to win the entire competition. His comedic puppet show, Paul Zerdin Hands Free, is currently on tour across the U.K. He also returned to compete in AGT: The Champions in 2019.
Season 11, Grace VanderWaal
Grace VanderWaal's Golden Buzzer audition is the second most-viewed in AGT history. At just 12 years old, the musician became the youngest performer since Season 1's Bianca Ryan to win the show. In the years since her victory, VanderWaal, 18, released her debut album, Just the Beginning, signed with IMG models, and starred in the Disney+ original movie Stargirl. She currently has more than 4 million followers on Instagram (the most of any AGT winner) and released new singles, "Don't Assume What You Don't Know" and "Repeat," in 2021.
Season 12, Darci Lynne
Talent: Singing ventriloquist
Lynne was 12 years old when she took the stage with her quirky band of puppets, showing off talent in ventriloquism, comedy, and singing that seemed beyond her years. As a Golden Buzzer Act, she soon became the first female ventriloquist to win the show and would go on to earn second place on AGT: The Champions two years later. Lynne is currently touring all around the U.S. and will star in her first film, A Cowgirls Song, in theaters April 22.
Season 13, Shin Lim
Talent: Card magician
Shin Lim is the first Act in history to win AGT twice. First during Season 13, with an encore victory soon after on Champions. You may have also spotted him on Ellen and The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. Lim currently shows off his mind-blowing illusions and card tricks at Las Vegas' Mirage Hotel.
Season 14, Kodi Lee
Talent: Singer, pianist
In 2019, Kodi Lee became the fourth Golden Buzzer Act to win. Both blind and autistic, the musician touched millions with his piano expertise and astounding vocal range. He currently performs in AGT's Las Vegas live show at the Luxor.
Season 15, Brandon Leake
Talent: Spoken word poet
Continuing the Golden Buzzer streak, Leake took home the win in 2020. His powerful and raw spoken-word poems brought a refreshing perspective to the AGT stage as he connected to fans through emotion and honesty. He's since released a poetry collection, Unraveling, and currently performs in AGT's live Vegas residency show.
Season 16, Dustin Tavella
From his first audition, Tavella brought his unique take on magic to the stage, using the love for his family and emotional personal story to put together a touching (inexplicable) performance. He currently performs in the series' Luxor residency.
Season 17, The Mayyas
The Lebanese dance crew won the latest season of AGT and will be headlining the show's Luxor residency.
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