There’s no other show quite like America’s Got Talent. One moment, you’re laughing hysterically at a ventriloquist and their puppet and the next, you’re crying your eyes out at a singer’s rendition of a song. And of course, we can’t forget about the dancers, the circus acrobats, the magicians, the dog acts, and… well, you get the point. It’s like your high school talent show on steroids, but 100 times better. And we are obsessed.
So far, we’ve been introduced to so many talented performers and we see still keep up with a few of them to this day. But we’re curious to find out what the past winners are up to now. Since the premiere of season 13 is only a few weeks away, we thought we’d take a little walk down memory lane:
16. Jackie Evancho
The first YouTube winner (also placed second in season five)
The classical crossover singer is now 18 and, as her website put it, “a worldwide sensation.” Jackie has already released a platinum-selling EP and over seven albums (some of which went platinum and gold). She made history by becoming the youngest solo artist to ever go platinum in the U.S., and aside from her singing career, she also tried her hand at modeling and acting.
The young artist performed the U.S. national anthem at President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, and as you can imagine, she faced a ton of backlash. But she responded by saying that her decision was apolitical. On that same day, she released a successful recording called Together We Stand, claiming that all profits from the release would go LGBT charities.
15. Darci Lynne Farmer
Season 12 Winner
The young ventriloquist, who plays over seven characters, has been up to quite a lot. She appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jeff Dunham’s The Haunted House on Dunham Hill, and A Very Pentatonix Christmas. The 13-year-old even made a guest appearance during former winner Terry Fator’s performance in Oklahoma. Darci is currently doing her “Darci Lynne and Friends Live” national tour, where she’ll be traveling to over 27 locations until August.
14. Angelica Hale (Season 12 Second Runner Up)
She’s not a former winner, but we’re curious to see what last year’s runners-up are up to these days. The 10-year-old singer, who contracted a severe bacterial pneumonia at the age of four, recently made history by becoming the youngest kid ambassador of the National Kidney Foundation. She also partnered with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and Make-a-Wish Georgia. Angelica has been performing at several events, including Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Celebrity Fight Night, and the 2017 NFL game between the Falcons and the Cowboys.
13. Light Balance (Season 12 Third Runner Up)
These guys are mesmerizing whenever they hit the stage! As of now, the Ukrainian Light up troupe is traveling and performing at different events, including the Golden Nine Music Festival and the I Love Urban Festival. They also got to appear on the Spanish television program, El Hormiguero.
12. Mandy Harvey (Season 12 Fourth Runner Up)
Mandy, the deaf musician who performed her original songs on the show, has published a memoir called Sensing the Rhythm: Finding My Voice in a World Without Sound. She also made a few appearances and did several interviews, including her most notable one with BBC, where she revealed that others within the deaf community once accused her of promoting oralism. But on the bright side, it was announced earlier this year that Mandy officially joined Kala Brand Music and is totally thriving!
11. Grace VanderWaal
Season 11 Winner
Grace is clearly winning at life right now. The singer already won a Radio Disney Music Award for “Best New Artist,” a Teen Choice Award for “Choice Next Big Thing,” and Billboard Women in Music’s “Rising Star Award.” She was also named among Billboard magazine’s 21 Under 21 list of fast-rising young music stars.
The singer released her first EP, Perfectly Imperfect, in 2016. And in November of 2017, she released her first album called Just the Beginning, which debuted at No. 22 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. But in other exciting news, Grace will actually be touring with Imagine Dragons this summer!
10. Paul Zerdin
Season Ten Winner
The ventriloquist has been keeping busy since his days on America’s Got Talent. He toured the U.S. and the U.K., and he also got to headline at The Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. He appeared on shows like Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? and Newzoids, and this year, he got to participate in the film Karts in Suzuka as “Sam.”
9. Mat Franco
Season Nine Winner
Not only was Mat the first (and only) magician to win the competition, but he also became the first winner to get their own spin-off show on the network. Mat starred in his own magic TV special entitled Mat Franco’s Got Magic, which aired on NBC in 2015. That same year, he began headlining at LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas (which he still does to this day). And by the following year, his show was awarded “Best Show” on the Las Vegas Strip in the Las Vegas Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards. We couldn’t be happier for Mat!
8. Kenichi Ebina
Season Eight Winner
The self-taught “Dance-ish” performing artist has been busy performing at events and teaching in several countries around the globe. He did a TED Talk in 2007 called “My Magic Moves” and in 2015, he released a cool app called Dance-ish Me. On the app, people can actually upload photos of their face onto Kenichi’s body and dance just like him. But aside from that, the former winner has been keeping a relatively low profile.
7. Olate Dogs
Season Seven Winner
We wanted to adopt these dogs from the moment we first saw them on the show! To this day, they’re the only dog act to win the competition. They’ve toured around the country to showcase their tricks and they’re still doing it to this day. The dogs have performed during NBA halftimes and they even got to be a part of the TV special Fox’s Cause for Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular in 2014. In the same year, they also made their movie debut in a short film called Le Sauvetage.
6. Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.
Season Six Winner
After winning, the jazz singer went on to sign with Sony Records and Columbia Records, and he released two albums. His first album, That’s Life, debuted at #34 on the Billboard 200 and reached number one on the Billboard jazz charts. He went on tour and got to perform at several events, including The Hollywood Christmas Parade.
But recently, in July of 2017, the singer was arrested for allegedly attacking his girlfriend with a golf club. The two apparently got into a heated argument and then things got physical. In a released statement, however, Landau claimed that it was his girlfriend who initiated the fight. He insisted that he was only acting in self-defense and he offered an apology for how it all happened. …Yikes.
5. Michael Grimm
Season Five Winner
Well, who could forget Michael and that adorable performance he dedicated to his girlfriend at the finale? You’ll be happy to know that now, the two are happily married (he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and proposed to her in front of a live audience!). Michael got a record deal with Epic Records and has released six albums to date. He also performed at the 2010 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and even got to open for Stevie Nicks.
4. Kevin Skinner
Season Four Winner
Unlike other past winners, Kevin has been staying out of the spotlight. But in his defense, he’s been through quite a lot in his personal life. After winning the competition, he released one album in 2010 called Long Ride. In private, however, he was going through a divorce and battling depression. In 2014, the country singer was reported missing in his hometown in Kentucky but was later found after police issued a Golden Alert. Since then, he kept his distance from the public eye.
3. Neal E. Boyd
Season Three Winner
Since he won, the opera singer signed to Decca Records and released his album, My American Dream. He also toured the world and got to perform for former U.S. Presidents, Barack Obama, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. It might surprise you to know that Neal is pretty passionate about politics. In 2012, he ran (as a Republican) for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives, but lost to Democrat Steve Hodges. He ran again in 2014 but didn’t win the Republican primary.
In 2017, it was reported that Neal got into a near-fatal car accident. He spent a number of weeks at different hospitals and thankfully, he’s recovering with physical therapy. But on a brighter note, he’s now working on a new album. He said: “It’s almost like something big is getting ready to happen. If that [crash] didn’t take me out, then God still has a purpose for me. And I think He does and that energizes me. And I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”
2. Terry Fator
Season Two Winner
The ventriloquist and comedian won our hearts from day one, and so it’s no surprise that he’s now an even bigger success. Just a year after he won season two, he signed a five-year, $100 million contract to perform nightly at The Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas. He also wrote a book entitled Who’s the Dummy Now?, did some voice acting for Disney Channel’s Mickey Mouse, and made multiple guest appearances on later seasons of America’s Got Talent. As of now, Terry is on tour.
1. Bianca Ryan
Season One Winner
Is anyone else having flashbacks of the adorable little redhead who wowed us with her powerful vocals when she auditioned? Well, now that little girl is 23. Bianca is currently creating her own vlog and working on her new EP, Part One—The Re-Introduction.
She revealed that she had to take a break from music because of health problems. She underwent two vocal surgeries and an abdominal surgery. And according to her website, her vocal range “increased by three notes on the low end and five notes on the high end.” She said: “For me, it’s a miracle to be singing the way that I am after all of the surgeries. It was like I had to relearn an instrument. I feel like my voice hasn’t ever been healthier.” We’re so happy that she recovered and can’t wait to hear the new music!