AMERICA’S GOT TALENT CHAMPS - A BUNCH OF LOSERS?!
WHAT really happened to past winners of AGT- champs or chumps?
SEASON 7, 2012 Olate Dogs, dog act
Season 7 went straight to the dogs – literally! Nick Olate, 20, his father Richard, 57, and their team of well-trained pooches flipped and tumbled their way into America’s hearts. After earning the top-dog spot, the family celebrated by purchasing a new truck and a super-size trailer to transport their growing family of pups, many of which have been rescued from shelters. The Olate Dogs recently headlined a show at The Palazzo in Las Vegas, and they also perform at NBA halftime shows around the country. Budding pop singer Nick recently completed his debut album, which is scheduled to be released this fall.
SEASON 6, 2011 Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., crooner, 39
Landau used his incredible voice to propel him from car-washer to world-class crooner. Raised on welfare and homeless at the age of 19, the West Virginia native was overcome with emotion when host Nick Cannon announced he’d won the show’s million-dollar prize. But the father of four couldn’t rush out and spend his winnings – he was behind on child support and needed to pay up. Since winning “AGT,” he’s performed to packed houses across the country. He also released his first album, “That’s Life,” two years ago and hopes to have a compilation of Christmas songs out before the holidays.
SEASON 5, 2010 Michael Grimm, singer, 33
Michael made good on his promise to build a new home for his grandparents after he took the million-dollar prize on “AGT.” He’s grateful he was able to help them, as his grandmother is now battling colon cancer and his grandfather is suffering from dementia. But it hasn’t all been grim for Grimm! Michael and his longtime girlfriend, Lucie Zolcerova, married less than a year after the “AGT” finale (below). He’s also released a critically praised solo CD and toured as an opening act for Stevie Nicks.
SEASON 4, 2009 Kevin Skinner, country singer, 39
Judge Sharon Osbourne didn’t have high hopes for the unemployed chicken farmer the first time he walked out onto the “AGT” stage, but his heartfelt performance of Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes” changed her mind. Maybe Sharon’s first impression was right! Although Kevin’s toured clubs and casinos over the past few years, things have “slowed down” this year, he says. The father of two from Mayfield, Ky., is “taking some time off” to focus on writing and to care for his elderly parents, Jackie and Joe.
SEASON 3, 2008 Neal E. Boyd, opera singer, 37
Neal’s rendition of “Nessun Dorma” had all three judges – and the audience – on their feet at his audition. So it was no surprise when he went on to win the competition. But despite his booming voice, Neal’s back to a 9-to-5 life in the insurance business as co-owner of Cox & Boyd insurance brokerage in Eureka, Mo. He ran for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives in 2012, but lost by a large margin. He recently announced he intends to run again (as a Republican) in 2014. Neal still performs a few times a month and is currently in the studio working on an album of Christmas music.
SEASON 2, 2007 Terry Fator, ventriloquist, 48
Prior to his big win on “AGT,” Texan Terry Fator was told that he would never be good enough for Vegas. Boy, did he show them! Terry, a singing ventriloquist/comedian, now has a long-term contract with The Mirage Hotel in Sin City that’s reportedly worth $100 million. But Terry took some heat when he dumped his wife of nearly 20 years, Melinda (pictured above), not long after hitting it big. Just hours after their bitter divorce was final in November 2010, Terry raced to the altar with his Hawaiian honey – his onstage assistant Taylor Makakoa (left), who was then just 22 years old. Calling Taylor his “soul mate,” Terry said: “We are so happy and looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together.”
SEASON 1, 2006 Bianca Ryan, singer, then 11 years old
This little firecracker wowed judges and viewers when she belted out her soulful rendition of the “Dreamgirls” anthem, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” at her audition. From there, it was smooth sailing as she easily took the million-dollar prize. Simon Cowell signed the redheaded wunderkind to a multiyear recording deal in 2006. She’s cut a CD, holiday recordings and, now 19, is working on another CD.