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'America's Got Talent' crowns magician Mat Franco its ninth-season winner


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/18/2014 

America's Got Talent crowned magician Mat Franco its ninth-season champion during Wednesday night's live finale broadcast on NBC.

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Mat, a 25-year-old from Johnston, RI, won America's Got Talent's grand prize of $1 million and the opportunity to headline a show in Las Vegas based on home viewer votes cast following Tuesday night's live performance episode which had featured two performances from each of the competition's Top 6 acts.

"Un-freaking-believable," Mat simply said in shock after AGT host Nick Cannon announced his victory.

"I've been doing magic since before I could read," Mat explained in a video montage. "My No. 1 fan might be my grandma. This is for her. I never thought that magic would take me to this point. I couldn't be more thankful about the opportunity I've been given."

America's Got Talent judges Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Melanie "Mel B" Brown, and Howie Mandel raved about Mat's last performance of the season Tuesday night. He utilized a "human deck of cards" as well as a regular deck of playing cards.

"It would be awfully nice to see a magician win this whole thing, especially one as talented and gifted as you," Howard told Mat after his performance.

"You are worth a million dollars," Howie insisted.

Emily West, a singer and songwriter from New York City, finished as the show's ninth-season runner-up on Wednesday night.          

"This has been the most unbelievable experience. Thank you AGT. Thank you Mat Franco for winning and taking on the world. I am very honored. And thank you so much for having me on your beautiful show. It changed my life," Emily said.

Third place went to AcroArmy, a group of young acrobatic gymnasts and athletes.

"Being on this show for us means the world," noted one of the act's members. "I mean, we came here to show America exactly what we are. Working hard to do what you want to do, working together as a team -- when you work together and love one another, you can do amazing things and do incredible things and inspire people around you. That's what our goal is."

Sons of Serendip, a musical group of four friends from Boston, MA, were next in line.

"We never imagined that we'd be here, and finishing in fourth place, we're so excited," said a group member. "This was such an amazing experience. We want to thank our family and friends and all the supporters we've had throughout this whole journey and also the AGT staff because you guys are in the business of changing lives and you have changed all of our lives."

Quintavious Johnson, a 12-year-old singer from Franklin, TN, was declared the fifth-place act. However, he didn't go home empty-handed, as Nick revealed the show wants to give him and his family a trip to Universal Orlando Resort.

"Being on the show has meant the world to me. I'm so excited I got to do this. And hey, how many people can say that they made the Top 6?!" Quintavious said after learning his placement.

And lastly, Miguel Dakota, a 21-year-old singer and guitarist from Monument, CO, landed in sixth place this season.

"It was such an honor. All five of these acts... are incredible. It was just such an honor to share the stage with them and this has truly changed my life. Thank you guys so much," he told the crowd.


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