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America's Got Talent: And the winner is... (season finale)

by Isabelle Carreau, posted Sep 17th 2009 1:00AM
America's Got Talent
(S04E26) This is it, people. The time has come to name the winner of America's Got Talent, the world's biggest talent search. The two-hour (!) final results bash included performances from Britain's Got Talent sensation Susan Boyle, The X Factor's Leona Lewis, Thelma Houston, Cirque du Soleil, Rascal Flatts, and Shakira. Sadly, none of the previous AGT winners performed.

Based on the TV Squad poll I've included in my review of the Top 10 performance show, 35.1% of the voters, including myself, said Barbara Padilla would win. Kevin Skinner received 22.2% of your votes, while Recycled Percussion placed third in our poll with 19.4%. The other contestants all got under 7% of your votes. (Note that these results were accurate at the beginning of the results show.)

Did the TV Squad poll results match reality? Official results coming up!

If you haven't watched the finale yet and do not want to be spoiled as to who won the competition, it's time to click elsewhere now!

I won't comment on the guest stars' performances since they -- and many recaps -- were only used as fillers and to make the show last a too-long two hours. Instead, I'll just give you the gist of what happened with the contestants and the results as they happened throughout the show. Here we go!

At the beginning of the show, Piers says he has no idea who will win since everyone has a good chance. Sharon doesn't want to predict who'll win, and instead says that it's bittersweet since the show is ending and that her dress is killing her. The Hoff says a few Hoff-isms. Once again, the judges are not able to, well, judge. I get why they don't want to say who they think should win since they don't want to hurt anyone, but how about a Top 3 or something?

The Top 10 acts perform "Don't Leave Me This Way" together. The intro with Barbara and the Texas Tenors is really great and in tune. Grandma Lee seriously introduces Thelma Houston who takes part of the rest of the performance. Kevin, Drew and Lawrence do fairly well when each sings in duo with Thelma. There is a good integration of the Fab 5 and Recycled Percussion as a sort of percussions solo. Hairo joins last to dance with the guest singer and the other Top 10 contestants.

Nick claims that this was the best season of the show as he introduces a recap segment. Best season so far?!? Has he watched the previous seasons? Following the recap of "Simply the Worst," some of the most memorable bad performers come on the stage to perform do their thing on "Ain't No Stopping Us Now." The act ends with Piers, in a tux, and Grandma Lee, in a wedding dress, appearing in a magic box. So here we come full circle with Grandma Lee's jokes about making out with Piers, getting pregnant, and now getting married.

Finally, after close to an hour of filler performances and recaps, it's time to cut the Top 10 in half. Acts are brought forward two at a time: one going home, one in the Top 5.

  • Hairo Torres and Barbara Padilla: Unsurprisingly, Barbara is in the Top 5.
  • Lawrence Beamen and The Voices of Glory: The Voices of Glory move on. The two boys need to thank their sisters for this one.
  • The Texas Tenors and Fab 5: I had my fingers crossed for the Fab 5 but deep down I knew the Tenors would be moving on.
  • Kevin Skinner and Drew Stevyns: Even if I never really liked Kevin's singing, he offered the best entertainment and story between the two. Kevin is part of the Top 5.
  • Recycled Percussion and Grandma Lee: The crowd mostly screams "Grandma Lee" but it's Recycled Percussion that gets the final spot in the Top 5.

The Top 5 is composed of four singing acts and one variety act, making AGT look like a version of American Idol. At least, none of the singing acts could have auditioned on Idol. My money still is on Barbara with Recycled Percussion as a second choice and Kevin Skinner as third.

The Top 5 becomes the Top 2:
  • Fifth place: The Voices of Glory
  • Fourth place: The Texas Tenors
  • Third place: Recycled Percussion
  • Top 2: Kevin Skinner and Barbara Padilla

Good job TV Squad readers, as in our "Who will win" poll, you picked fifth, fourth and third places accurately, and you gave Kevin and Barbara the most votes.

And the winner is...
  • Second place: Barbara Padilla
  • First place: Kevin Skinner

Looks like TV Squad readers and myself couldn't predict the winner. Kevin had a huge fan base right from the start and it looks like they pulled together to make him win. As The Hoff says over and over again, Kevin is what this show is all about: an ordinary man with talent. Kevin is not the best singer out there but his underdog status mixed with an unusual job helped make him one of the front runners. I'm sure that with some singing lessons and good song choices, he will be able to sell a good number of albums.

Are you happy that Kevin won? What did you think of the season as a whole? Best one? Worst one? Share your opinions in comment below.

On a side note, I'm preparing an "open letter to the producers" post to comment about the season's good and bad moves, as well as what I would like to see happen next season. Feel free to comment on the subject below and your comment may end up in my post (with credit of course)!

America's Got Talent' Photos

    AMERICA'S GOT TALENT Judge David Hasselhoff.


    AMERICA'S GOT TALENT Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff.


    AMERICA'S GOT TALENT Judge Piers Morgan.


    AMERICA'S GOT TALENT Judge Sharon Osbourne.


    AMERICA'S GOT TALENT Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff.


    AMERICA'S GOT TALENT Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff.


    AMERICA'S GOT TALENT Swinging Rat Pack.


    AMERICA'S GOT TALENT Swinging Rat Pack.




    AMERICA'S GOT TALENT Shelia-Shelia Of The Jungle.


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We analyse this competition as essential instant in our lives. It's necessary that everything is our manner otherwise we shout in injustice, we cry as children, we waste our time for writing our frustrations here. I think that he is important to forget comparisons with SBoyle and to see something else in our lives. It's important also to see farther than the nose and to think that we analyse amateurs whom we love or not but who had courage to make this step of giant and to serve the prey to people frustrated in this country.
I read comments of one girl in this blog which are extremes but I think that we shall be able to see this young woman in competition next year with its so big talent to make better than Kevin.
I do not think that this letter changes something because we try to change the world for a long time and we have result under our eyes in every day. Injustice, hypocrisy, violence, cheating, individualism, hate and all this for money. The famous word which answers to our questions. These competitions are the mirror of this society and Kevin arrive in front of us and make dream of what we lost of our values. Good or not, I think you can't make the difference about different kinds of music because S Boyle is always the reference for this contest. No comparaison because pop and country are not the same at all. This reference is the biggest problem of this competition and people who analyze it.
Competition of personality and not talent? To keep the values in this society is undoubtedly the biggest talent which Kevin has . For the rest, the time will make things, people will earn their living and will make a career if they want it. I do not think that fact to shout about AGT and Kevin particularly will change things. I'm happy for Kevin and please change your speech and continue your life by stopping punishing this man as the Roman in an arena. To decrease, to hurt, to shout your frustrations on him will change nothing to the reality and it's nasty.
For me, all these candidates are amateurs and deserve respect and if our frustration exceeds our capacity to understand, definitely it is to us that we should send this letter and these comments. I am happy with result because it is an amateur who won and it deserves it because he had courage to confront this arena which is our nice society of perfect.

September 30 2009 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The name of the show is America's Got Talent......not America's Got a Great Story. I understand that it is the stories behind each contestant that makes them "real". However, in the end, someone with talent should actually be the winner. Sorry, but Steven just doesn't have the talent. The only saving grace is that those with real talent, such as Susan Boyle will go on to greater things. I will re-think watching next season's show. Or maybe I will just listen to the stories and turn off the sound for the actual performances as those don't seem to count.

September 19 2009 at 1:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

He did good considering that he wasn't lipsynching. I saw a video of Britney Spears singing live without lipsynching over at TMZ.com and she sounded awful. She was a million times worse than Kevin. Plus with his story and the fact that we are in a recession he was able to win over people's hearts. All of her college degrees in music, her beauty, and her voice training couldn't beat Kevin's heart.

September 18 2009 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to BenArrowood's comment

1) TMZ exploits questionably talented people by showing them at their worst. AGT's promotes questionably talented people by featuring them at their BEST.

2) Prostitution aside, people don't go to Vegas to feel warm and fuzzy; they go to be entertained. Would you pay to see a singer with "potential" or would you pay to see a damn good singer sing damn good!?!

September 18 2009 at 3:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can't comment on the performances, as I haven't seen any of them. As I've mentioned in prior posts, Nick Cannon's mean-spirited backstage comments put me off the show this season.

So that'd be my #1 suggestion - bring back Jerry, or at least get rid of Nick.

#2 would be no more sob stories - let people succeed or fail on their merits. Of course, I'd prefer that for all talent-based reality shows, but we're talking about AGT right now.

#3 is give the kids their own show. If they're going to stick with the Vegas show conceit, nobody in single digits should currently be allowed through the audition process, as they're too young for the prize.

#4 is kill the immediate Vegas elimination. If you're going to make people disrupt their lives and haul their butts to Vegas, at least give them the chance to perform, instead of "Oh, you're here - now turn around and go home". If you don't want that many people in Vegas, don't send them.

September 17 2009 at 11:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon B. Knutson

Ah, where to begin?

Let me first make one thing perfectly clear: Given how many times the freakin' judges talk about how they're looking for an act to perform in Las Vegas, the top 10 acts are dominated by singers. How many Las Vegas big shows are just singers? And the acts that would make for good Vegas shows, they cut as fast as they can.

The only one of the top 10 acts I'd be interested in seeing perform again is the Fab Five... but you know, I have a problem with the dance acts, too. If the winning act is supposed to be able to do an hour-long show, they can't really use dance acts, can they? Every single one of these dance acts, after performing for three minutes, are completely exhausted! They don't have the endurance for an hour-long show! Nobody has that kind of endurance!

OK, maybe the larger dance troupes could manage it, because they could break up into smaller groups to perform pieces that would add up to an hour, but that's about it.

Have we heard of any winner of AGT who went on to any other kind of success aside from Terry Fator? I sure haven't. And yes, Terry sang, but he was doing it while also doing impressions and ventriloquism... THAT'S an act I'd pay to see in Vegas.

Maybe they need to just rethink the whole thing... Work it from the viewpoint that they're casting America's greatest talent for an hour-long Vegas variety show, and decide that they need specific acts for the show. Let's say they need acts that will last 6 minutes, except for the headliner, who will get 20 minutes. Say there's going to be a show that is 80 minutes long. So you need 11 acts, including the headliner. So they need to fill it out like so:

One magic act
One musical group act (this could be a band or a group of singers)
One comedy act
One juggling act
One acrobatics act
Two dance acts
Two solo singing acts
One miscellaneous act -- this could be a contortionist or some other act that's not easily classifiable.

So instead of getting down to a top ten and one winner, they have to fill in all those slots. And then they do semi-finals for each of the categories (or perhaps two categories per episode, if they must), so America can vote for the top act (or acts) for each position.

Then they do the final performance -- almost a run-through of what the show would be -- where the performers get to do their six minutes of act. And America chooses which act will be the headliner.

And no acts under the age of 13!

September 17 2009 at 11:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They need to completely get rid of the judges' pick after America gets to vote, and they need to limit people's votes to one, not ten, per voting method.

I also agree with Deborah MK about the life stories. But I also recognize most of America eats that stuff up.

September 17 2009 at 10:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is crazy. No one would ever go to Vegas to see this guy sing! EVER. As was said before, there are better singers in your local pub right now. The fix was in. The show wanted this dude to win from the very beginning. The show is off my DVR list as of now.
BTW - Nick made me wish Jerry was back, and that is saying something!

September 17 2009 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What in the heck happened??? America had talent. Skinner just isn't one of them. Come on, who's going to spend 100.00 to listen to that? The people in Vegas still are sitting there stunned with their mouths open. Wrong, wrong wrong. If a sob story wins it I can better him. Maybe I should try out next year and play the spoons and give them my sad story while I"m doing it.

September 17 2009 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim Kosmicki

the sound has got to be better. If they are going to do a live show, they HAVE to be able to have proper sound. There's better sound from live sports shows, and this is supposedly about entertainment. And I'm not talking about the piano getting unplugged. Far too often, you hear the background music or singers more than the supposed front stage performer. Get the mixing right or tape the damn thing.

September 17 2009 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was so disappointed with this year's venue. At first I thought having the people vote was great but then having the judges making the last vote and then changing the rules midstream. Then the decision to make the final out of ten people was just screwy. I hate the way they drag out the announcements and cannot believe Kevin Skinner won. Lawrence Beamen was so much better. I do not plan on watching again.

September 17 2009 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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