NBC has announced that perennial summer favorite America’s Got Talent is venturing into winter territory with its first ever America’s Got Talent: The Champions edition set to air in January 2019. The show will feature favorite acts from past seasons of AGT as well as talents from international editions of the Got Talent franchise, which airs worldwide in 184 countries.
America’s Got Talent: The Champions will follow AGT’s Season 13, which premieres on May 29 and seeks to be the summer’s top-rated show as it was in 2017 with 16 million viewers overall.
Series creator Simon Cowell, confirmed for the “Champions” judges panel, said, “I’ve always wanted to have a competition show for the very best of the best Got Talent acts from around the world.” Noting the variety of incredible acts seen in other countries, he said he’s thrilled to bring them all together and launch America’s Got Talent: The Champions on NBC.
NBC Alternative Programming President Paul Telegdy said bringing back AGT champions in a competition of other champions will have them “elevating their acts to awe and inspire audiences like never before.”
The collaboration of NBC, Syco Entertainment, FremantleMedia North America and executive producer Simon Cowell have for more than a decade mined the talent world with their Got Talent format. CEO of FremantleMedia North America Jennifer Mullin said, “AGT: The Champions will be a true celebration of culture and diversity.”
There has been no word on which American and worldwide past champions have signed up for the winter show, but it’s a safe bet that many of them will be clearing their schedules to get back on the Got Talent stage again. Whether the season will only feature champions or if some finalists will also be coming back may depend on the number of champions without other performing commitments.
In looking back at the first 12 seasons of AGT winners, some have very busy careers and others could use a second boost to get them back on track.
Pop singer Bianca Ryan, Season 1 winner, released her debut album including her audition song “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” along with other covers. She has also released singles and Christmas EPs.
Ventriloquist Terry Fator was the Season 2 winner who really put AGT on the map when his win earned him a five-year deal to perform at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in 2008 in Las Vegas. He’s released a book and performance DVDs, and Terry paid a special visit in 2017 to AGT to perform with fellow singing ventriloquist and AGT winner, Darci Lynne.
Season 3 winner and opera singer, Neal E. Boyd released his studio album My American Dream in 2009 and ran for Missouri House of Representatives in 2012. He did not win that contest.
In Season 4, country singer Kevin Skinner took the top prize and released his first album Long Ride in 2010. He has remained in Kentucky and out of the spotlight since 2014, when he was reported missing by his family and found a day later by authorities.
Season 5 was won by singer-songwriter Michael Grimm. Michael’s debut album came in at number 13 on Billboard with original songs and covers of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Alicia Keys. In 2011, he was the opening act for Stevie Nicks.
Jazz fans won’t forget Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., the winner of Season 6. As his book title says, he went from washing cars to a Hollywood star. His first album, That’s Life, went to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard jazz album chart in 2011. Other releases have followed and Landau loves touring the country and performing his take on jazz standards.
Season 7 went to the dogs as the Olate Dogs performed their tricks to win it all. Since then they’ve toured the country performing for dog lovers and NBA halftime shows.
Japanese dancer and performance artist Kenichi Ebina won 2013’s Season 8 and still performs, but has been keeping a lower profile since winning.
Magician Mat Franco saw his dreams realized in Season 9 when his win took him to Las Vegas and the LINQ Hotel and Casino in 2015. Mat even won the best magic show in Vegas in 2016.
Season 10’s winner, comic ventriloquist Paul Zerdlin, headlined at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas in 2016 and toured the U.K.
Season 11 was all Grace Vander Waal. The 12-year-old singer-songwriter-ukelele player won hearts and Howie’s golden buzzer to land her in the finals. Since then she’s made the Billboard album charts with her EP Perfectly Imperfect and followed it with her debut album Just the Beginning. Grace was called “the next Taylor Swift” by Simon Cowell.
Teen ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer took home the prize in AGT’s Season 12. Darci Lynne was the third ventriloquist to win on AGT. Since then she has been a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and many other TV shows. She has toured her act and performed with Jeff Dunham, Terry Fator and Fergie, as well as making appearances on the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
Now onward to Season 13 of AGT and next winter’s AGT: The Champions.