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Let's Recap Brandon Leake's History-Making Run on America's Got Talent

Leake was the first spoken word poet to perform on the show.

By McKenzie Jean-Philippe

It's no exaggeration to say that America's Got Talent fans had never seen anyone like Brandon Leake. The Season 15 winner was the show's first-ever spoken word poet to compete. (He even earned a Golden Buzzer.) His poems featuring themes of grief, parenthood, race, and more were raw and unfiltered as Leake took the stage to open up about his life every week.

How to Watch

Watch the Season 19 premiere of America’s Got Talent Tuesday, May 28 at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock

"This right here is genuinely a moment in which spoken word got a chance to be on the forefront of the American conscious," he said to People following his victory. "And we won. To know that an art form that was so underground for so long got the public eye and took a win, that's more than any million-dollar prize could ever be."

In addition to the $1 million grand prize and a new Kia Stinger, Leake is currently a headliner at AGT's live Las Vegas show at the Luxor. While you're trying to score tickets, take a walk down memory lane and catch every single one of Leake's AGT performances.

Brandon Leake's AGT Golden Buzzer Audition

Agt Winners Brandon Leake

For his audition, Leake presented an emotional piece about mourning his late sister. The poem touched every single Judge, but particularly Howie Mandel, who awarded Leake with a Golden Buzzer.

"It's amazing to me that on Season 15, it's the first time that we're hearing somebody of spoken word," Mandel said. "There was something more raw in the way it's like singing and talking and just being a human a cappella. No music, no nothing, just a raw heart beating in front of us. We feel your pain, we feel your love." 

Brandon Leake's Quarterfinals Performance

During the Quarterfinals, the poet unveiled a timely original poem about the power of a Black mother's love and its tie to police brutality and racial injustice. He received a standing ovation from Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara, and Mandel.  

Brandon Leake's Semifinals Performance

In a poem used as an open letter to his father, Leake reflected on their years-long strained relationship and road to healing.

Brandon Leake's Final Performance

Mandel gave Leake a standing ovation once again following a performance that served as a prayer for his daughter.

Brandon Leake's Finale Performance

On the night he'd be crowned the winner of Season 15, Leake performed a brief, light-hearted spoken word poem about AGT.

Brandon Leake's Guest Performance On Season 16

Following his victory just a year before, Leake returned to the AGT stage for a special guest performance during Season 16. With the help of four other spoken word poets, he delivered a piece about his hometown of Stockton, California.