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About the show:
"America's Got Talent," NBC's top-rated summer series from producer Simon Cowell's Syco Television and FremantleMedia North America, returns this summer with the hottest performers from across the country ready to compete in the blockbuster reality show's ninth season. Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel return as judges and Nick Cannon returns as host.
With the talent search open to acts of all ages, "America's Got Talent" has brought the variety format back to the forefront of American culture by showcasing unique performers from across the country. The series is a true celebration of the American spirit, featuring a colorful array of singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, impressionists, jugglers, magicians, ventriloquists and hopeful stars, all vying for their chance to win America's hearts and the $1 million prize.
Last season, Kenichi Ebina was voted the winner at the conclusion of an exciting live finale packed with special performances. Kenichi Ebina is a self-taught dancer who infuses illusion, mime and special effects of sound, light and video into each dance performance. Ebina grew up in Japan until he was 20 years old, then moved to Connecticut as a student.
Previously, traveling dog act Olate Dogs was named the winner of the show's seventh season. Olate Dogs is a high-energy, fast-paced dog act filled with impressive pet tricks led by Richard Olate and his son Nicholas Olate.
In 2011, West Virginia native Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. beat out thousands of acts to take home the coveted $1 million grand prize for season six. He signed with Columbia/Syco records and released his first album, "That's Life," in November of that year.
Mississippi-born soul singer Michael GRIMM was named the winner of the fifth season's competition. After headlining the national "America's Got Talent Tour," he toured with the legendary Stevie Nicks and Heart. Season five also brought national attention to then-10-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho, who has gone on to release several best-selling albums.
Season four winner Kevin Skinner released his debut album, "Long Ride," in 2010. Pop opera singer Neal E. Boyd won season three, and has since performed for audiences that included U.S. presidents. Season two winner Terry Fator, a ventriloquist, singer and comedian from Dallas, went on to sign a deal to headline at the Mirage in Las Vegas, where he continues to perform. Singer and songwriter Bianca Ryan won the premiere season of "America's Got Talent" when she was just 11 years old.
Photo by: Michael Parmelee/NBC