'America's Got Talent' crowns ventriloquist Paul Zerdin its tenth-season champion
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/17/2015
America's Got Talent declared Paul Zerdin its tenth-season winner during Wednesday night's live finale broadcast on NBC.
Paul, a 42-year-old English comedian and ventriloquist from London, 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 the Top 10 finalists all performing one time.
"I am totally speechless. Thank you so much! Thank you so much! It's surreal. I'm bowled over," Paul said after AGT host Nick Cannon announced his victory.
"I love ventriloquism because I guess it's an excuse for me not to have to grow up," Paul said in a video montage moments before the results. "Being able to do what I do makes people smile, and I love that. I really want America's vote, but at the end of the day, I really am just a bloke with a doll. I've been doing ventriloquism for quite a long time and winning this would just be the icing on the cake."
Paul's win might come as a bit of a surprise to AGT fans, because although he was a frontrunner all season long, he got a little criticism from judge Howie Mandel on Tuesday for not changing up his voices enough between puppets. His final performance wasn't his best, but apparently it was enough.
Stuttering comedian Drew Lynch finished as the show's tenth-season runner-up on Wednesday night's finale.
"Thank you guys so much. Paul is so talented and deserves this 100 percent. So, thank you," Drew humbly told the audience.
However, Nick unintentionally rubbed salt into Drew's wounds by revealing only one percent separated him from Paul in the voting.
"Five months ago, I showed up at the auditions with thousands of other people, and to get this far, I just can't believe people kept saying, 'Yes.' I just wanted to go on this show and be funny," Drew said in a video package. "I wanted people to see me as a comedian, but they're also saying, 'You're so inspiring.' I think that's pretty amazing."
Third place went to magician and mind reader Oz Pearlman.
"When I was a little kid, I never heard of mentalism or mind reading. I just knew that I could do things that other people couldn't. Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I never left my job on Wall Street to pursue mentalism. Winning America's Got Talent would be a dream come true... People coming in from across the world to see me perform, there are no words for it," Oz explained before learning his placement.
The Professional Regurgitator, Stevie Starr, was next in line. He told the judges his experience on the show was "absolutely brilliant."
"It was nice seeing everyone again... It was a big achievement for me," the fourth-place finisher noted before thanking judge Heidi Klum especially for her constant support.
And The CraigLewis Band was declared the fifth-place act. The duo said America's Got Talent has served as an amazing platform for them and they appreciated everything.
The finalists who failed to place in the Top 5 were magician Derek Hughes, comedian Gary Vider, ladder balancer Uzeyer Novruzov, singer Benton Blount, and Piff the Magic Dragon.
In addition to performances from the Top 10 finalists, AGT's Season 10 finale featured celebrity guests taking the stage such as Season 9 winner Mat Franco, Penn and Teller, Yolanda Adams, and Jeff Ross.