America’s Got Talent just wrapped up season eight, and the multitalented Kenichi Ebina outlasted a diverse and skilled field to earn a $1 million cash prize, as well as the role as a headliner in a Las Vegas show. The competition started back on June 4 this year, and culminated in a finals match-up pitting the comedic talents of Taylor Williamson and the performance art skills of Ebina. Kenichi employs a creative combination of storytelling, acting, mime, martial arts, jazz and ethnic dance. The judges in season eight were comedian Howie Mandel, Mel B of Spice Girls fame, supermodel Heidi Klum and radio broadcasting icon Howard Stern.
The live finale broadcast on NBC crowned a champion based on home viewer votes cast immediately after the last live performance episode showcasing the talents of the six finalists. AGT host Nick Cannon announced the winner after a dramatic pause, and when he asked the season eight champion what he was feeling, Kenichi responded, “Oh my God, I don’t know what I can tell you, but it’s amazing.” The humble performer thanked his wife and daughter for “being supportive all the way through,” and also mentioned his mother, brother, sister and all of his friends that played a vital role in keeping him going through the years.
The second place Taylor Williamson continued his comedic attitude even after the competition was over, commenting that, “No. 2, that’s kind of disgusting — that number — but thank you so much you guys for making my dreams come true.” Jimmy Rose was not generally considered one of the more talented of this year’s contestants, but he had a great showing at the end of the season and grabbed third place. His hit “Coal Mine” single-handedly kept him in the hunt every week, and we are sure to hear some more from the young country singer and songwriter in the future.
He thanked America’s Got Talent “for giving him this opportunity” and told all the AGT fans to grab hold of their dream and chase it, “no matter who you are, or where you come from.” The talented operatic tenor trio Forte finished in a disappointing fourth, after considered by many to be the favorite the last few weeks. The teenage magician Collins Key took fifth place, with singer, songwriter and pianist Cami Bradley finishing in sixth. Season eight of the reality talent television show may be over, but season nine of AGT is just around the corner.
Auditions for season nine will begin on October 26 and 27 in Miami, Florida at the Hyatt Regency, and then talented hopefuls can head to Atlanta, Georgia on November 2 and 3 where AmericasMart hosts auditions as well. Auditions will then be held in New York November 16 and 17, and Denver is the site of auditions December 7 and 8 at the Colorado Convention Center. The competition moves to Houston on January 18 and 19, to Indianapolis at the Indiana Convention Center January 25 and 26, with the final chance for performers held at the Los Angeles Biltmore on February 8 and 9. Do you have what it takes to be crowned the season nine America’s Got Talent champion? This is the only reality show talent competition which is open to any age and any skill, giving talented performers a shot at the $1 million grand prize.