‘America’s Got Talent’ Season 16: And the Winner Is…
It was a spellbinding night for Dustin Tavella as the magician was crowned the America’s Got Talent Season 16 winner during the live, two-hour season finale on Wednesday, September 15.
In what host Terry Crews described as “the closest vote ever,” Tavella beat out the nine other finalists and earned himself the $1 million prize and the headline spot for an AGT show in Las Vegas. Tavella has become the third magician to win the NBC competition show following Season 9 winner Mat Franco and Season 13 champion Shin Lim.
“Thank you guys so much. This is absolutely amazing,” said an emotional Tavella, whose magic centered on his two adoptive sons. “Before AGT, I just never could’ve imagined my two worlds colliding – My passion for my magic and my story about my family.”
Before America voted for the winner, all 10 finalists performed in front of judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, and Sofia Vergara. Cowell referred to it as “the most competitive final ever,” with the line-up including five Golden Buzzer winners.
Aerialist Aidan Bryant finished in second place, with comedian Josh Blue landing in third, singer Brooke Simpson in fourth, and quick-change artist Léa Kyle in fifth. Earlier in the night saw the elimination of comedian Gina Brillon, singer Jimmie Herrod, World Taekwondo Demonstration Team, opera singer Victory Brinker, and Northwell Nurse Choir.
The two-hour finale featured an array of special guests, including Tony Award-winning actress Idina Menzel, who performed alongside Herrod for a rendition of “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked. Meanwhile, Simpson was joined by singer-songwriter Bishop Briggs to perform her single “White Flag.”
Elsewhere on the show, comedian George Lopez took part in a sketch with Brillon; Olympic gymnasts Jordan Chiles and MyKayla Skinner appeared during Bryant and the World Taekwondo Demonstration Team’s mash-up performance; Blue received hilarious advice from past AGT comedians, including Preacher Lawson, Piff the Dragon, Taylor Williamson and Tom Cotter; and Franco performed a magical act for past champ Franco and Modern Family star Rico Rodriguez.
America’s Got Talent, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8/7c, NBC