America’s Got Talent 2016 Winner Results: Who Won Season 11? (VIDEO)
Welcome to the live blog and recap for the America’s Got Talent 2016, “Live Finale”! Judges Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell join host Nick Cannon on the biggest nationwide talent search of the summer!
Tonight is the night! We crown our winner for Season 11, and it will be one of the following ten tremendously talented acts! They are:
Grace VanderWaal, Singer
Jon Dorenbos, Magician
Sal Valentinetti, Singer
Tape Face, Mime
Laura Bretan, Opera Singer
The Clairvoyants, Mind-readers
Brian Justin Crum, Singer
Linkin’ Bridge, Vocal Group
Sofie Dossi, Contortionist
Viktor Kee, Juggler
According to our official poll, Grace VanderWaal is predicted to win the competition with 24.21% of the vote, overcoming her nearest competitors, Jon Dorenbos (18.37%) and Brian Justin Crum (15.24%). But there is still time left to vote, so add your predictions! And if you missed last night’s show, get caught up with our full recap with videos!
Keep it locked right here, as I’ll be updating with commentary, results, and videos as soon as they become available!
Let’s get this show on the road!
-We open the show with introductions and a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation that has gone into the finale performance show, culminating with the judges giving the Top 10 a pep talk backstage. We also get a full recap of last night’s show. It doesn’t show us very much in the form of behind-the-scenes comments beyond Simon saying he’d love to see Linkin’ Bridge win, but this is helpful for anyone who might have missed last night’s show. It also serves as a reminder of the insane amount of standing ovations that occurred last night, as everyone received a four-judge standing ovation, except for Tape Face — and that was only because Mel B was stuck up there onstage with him.
-Back from break with some fun from the Dunkin’ Lounge, and all I can think is to wonder why cold brew coffee is a thing now.
SAL VALENTINETTI TEAMS UP WITH THE CAST OF JERSEY BOYS!
-Sal sings “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons with the cast of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys. It’s a great show, and I thoroughly enjoyed what Clint Eastwood did for the movie adaptation. But I digress, as Sal’s voice really suits uptempo songs here. The four Jersey Boys and Sal come across like an entirely new group, and I really dig it. That said, the dancing is super corny. Also, they only sing the one song rather than a medley, which is kind of disappointing. But if they had to sing a song, I’m glad it was something upbeat, at least. You can’t really get more fitting for the finale show than “Oh What a Night!”
-We follow this up with an aimless comedy video about the judges behind-the-scenes. This show really doesn’t need to be two hours.
TAPE FACE PERFORMS WITH HIS FELLOW FINALISTS!
-So Tape Face is onstage with some of his fellow finalists, including Jon Dorenbos, Viktor Kee, Brian Justin Crum and the lead singer of Linkin’ Bridge. He gets them swaying back and forth to “Lean On Me” and then has them each sit in a fold-up seat. He then has them all lie back and across each other, and threads their arms together. He begins removing the fold-up seats underneath them, with the idea being that the strength of their connection together will keep them upright without the help of the chairs, since they’re essentially just leaning on each other. Tape Face then takes a selfie with the pile of men, and puts the fold-up seats back. It wasn’t hilarious or anything, but I’d argue it was better than his act last night.
-We then get trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children masquerading as a retrospective on the season. I can’t really complain though, because Im looking forward to this movie, even if I am kind of over Tim Burton’s style.
BRIAN JUSTIN CRUM SINGS “CREEP”
-This was the performance that catapulted him to the forefront of the competition for a lot of people, so it doesn’t surprise me that they asked him to sing it again for the finale here. If anything, he should have reprised it last night, or done something closer to it than whatever the hell that version of “Man In the Mirror” was. Granted, he sounded great, but that arrangement was a nightmare, in my opinion. But I digress. Brian is every bit as good here as you would think he’d be. Just an incredibly rich vocal, filled with character and drama. He reminds me of Callum Scott from Britain’s Got Talent, actually.
-After the performance, Simon introduces a video package showing some of Nick Cannon’s best and worst moments from the show. It’s a cute video, and it illustrates how good Nick really is at his job. I’d argue he’s every bit as good on this show as Ryan Seacrest was on Idol. I don’t think Mel B is far off when she says Nick is the glue that holds this show together. I love Simon’s observation that, deep down, Nick really just wants to be a contestant.
LAURA BRETAN, VIKTOR KEE AND SOFIE DOSSI PERFORM WITH IL VOLO!
-Had to figure it’d be Il Volo when Nick hyped up an Italian vocal group before we went to break, considering the Simon Cowell connection. But I’m stoked to see (and hear) them, as they perform a stellar rendition of “Nessun Dorma” alongside Laura, who gives perhaps her most mature, comfortable vocal of the season. She makes it look far more effortless than it’s ever looked for her this season, and it already looked pretty effortless for her to begin with, so this is pretty impressive. Viktor and Sofie are really good at what they do as well. Viktor does some of his juggling (too little of it, in my opinion. I wanted to see more!) while Sofie descends from the ceiling on a ring, around which she’s looped herself. It looks absolutely painful, but then, Sofie is basically made out of rubber, from appearances.
-We get a video tribute to Howie Mandel, and it’s actually pretty funny, as we get a deleted scene of him performing with Malevo and getting four Xs for it. Basically, the video is a tribute to what a terrible dancer Howie is. Even Heidi and Mel B can’t teach him to dance, although they try, in a funny bit. The video then becomes absurd, in the best possible way, with Simon revealing Howie’s hidden Russian ballet career, Paula Abdul and Debbie Allen credit him for creating the “street scene” and starting the “leg warmer” craze, and he even takes credit for New Edition, and Bobby Brown’s later hit, “My Prerogative”! And each of these factoids features a reenactment or funny sight gag. It all ends with Howie revealing he can really dance, with some pretty cool editing tricks switching him out for a breakdancer. I actually loved this. Sure, it was cheesy, but…well, I don’t know how to finish that sentence.
-After break, we review the season from the first Simon-as-Hannibal Lecter vignette, through the auditions, to the Judge Cuts and live shows. This feels like the seventh season recap of the night. That said, kudos to them for managing to find different clips each time. Keeps things interesting.
GRACE VANDERWAAL SINGS “I DON’T KNOW MY NAME”!
-Grace reprises her audition song, and I like it a lot. I still think her original performance was the type of magic that can’t be recaptured like this, but I still really, really enjoyed her performance here. Her voice is so immensely distinct that I’d love to hear her in a recording studio setting.
STEVIE NICKS SINGS “LANDSLIDE”!
-Grace then introduces Stevie Nicks, and it’s about the most adorable thing ever, the way she seems like she’s about to explode with excitement. You’d think Stevie and Grace were about to duet together, but nope. Turns out, she’s just singing “Landslide” while highlights of the season are projected behind her. HOW MANY TIMES ARE WE GOING TO RECAP THIS SEASON?! It’s the finale! We get it. With that said, Stevie sounds terrific here.
After the performance, Stevie compares Grace to a younger version of herself, and declares that no matter what happens, Grace will be going straight to the top.
SILHOUETTES PERFORMS WITH LINKIN’ BRIDGE!
-The visual artists Silhouettes perform, creating images with their bodies against a silhouetted background of projected images. Meanwhile, Linkin’ Bridge sings “7 Years”, and while it’s got their best harmonies of the entire season, the individual verses fell really flat, for me. And it wasn’t just one singer either, as they all seemed to run out of breath during their solos. That said, I was paying way more attention to the Silhouettes, who were acting out the song in broad strokes, such as creating the words “LOVE”, “BELIEVE”, a fairy tale setting of a royal ball and a carriage to take Cinderella there, and even a scenic view of New York with the Statue of Liberty. That last one legitimately gave me goosebumps. It may not have been a perfect performance from the guys, but this was easily my favorite performance of the night.
-We get this awesome video with each of the judges talking about why they’re judges and how they became famous. Howie’s friends talked him into doing a set onstage, Heidi won a modeling competition, and Mel B actually sang for Simon! Nick talks about opening up for his dad’s public access televangelist show, doing stand-up comedy (no mention of All That?). Simon is proud of this show, and he feels anyone can win it, which is what makes it great. I can’t disagree with him there.
THE CLAIRVOYANTS PERFORM IN FRONT OF THE JUDGES!
-Thommy has a series of images of various celebrities for the judges to flip through. Heidi lands on Paula Abdul, and Paula is actually here (which seems to genuinely take Simon by surprise). They have Paula write a series of different numbers on a canvas onstage, and each number is related to a question the Clairvoyants ask the judges (such as “How many times does Simon look in the mirror every day?”). They then have Paula remove a lottery ticket from a box. This leads to an awkward moment, since she doesn’t have her reading glasses. So she struggles to read any of this, taking me back to her nonsense days as an Idol judge. Except this time it wasn’t her fault — or maybe it is, if they told her she’d be reading something and she opted to forego reading glasses anyway. But long story short, the numbers on the ticket match the numbers on the canvas. Cool trick!
JON DORENBOS PERFORMS WITH PAULA ABDUL!
-Paula remains onstage as Jon shuffles through a deck of giant playing cards. He has her pick a card and then rip it in half. However, he claims to have only meant for her to rip it figuratively, not literally. So he has her rip it in half again to create four pieces, saying he’ll resolve this by using his magic brown paper bag. He hands Paula one of the pieces, and then puts the other three in the bag. He gives the bag a shake, and the pieces disappear! He then has Heidi open a sealed envelope on the table next to her, and not only are the missing three pieces in the envelope, they’re somehow back together! And to prove it’s the same three pieces, he takes the fourth piece and fits it into the re-formed card perfectly! Really impressive stuff.
TOP 5 RESULT #1
-It’s the first result of the night! We’re going to find out who is in our Top 5. Nick calls Tape Face and Sal Valentinetti forward. One is in the top five, the other is going home…
SAL VALENTINETTI IS IN THE TOP FIVE!
TAPE FACE IS ELIMINATED FROM AMERICA’S GOT TALENT 2016!
No comments from either person. Sal is overcome, and Tape Face is pretty much mute.
TOP 5 RESULT #2
-Nick calls Jon Dorenbos and Linkin’ Bridge forward.
JON DORENBOS IS IN THE TOP FIVE!
LINKIN’ BRIDGE IS ELIMINATED FROM AMERICA’S GOT TALENT 2016!
Nothing from Jon, but the guys from Linkin’ Bridge do get to briefly state how awesome their time on the show was. So that’s good.
TOP 5 RESULT #3
-Nick calls Grace VanderWaal and Sofie Dossie forward.
GRACE VANDERWAAL IS IN THE TOP FIVE!
SOFIE DOSSI IS ELIMINATED FROM AMERICA’S GOT TALENT 2016!
Grace repeatedly jumping up and down, unable to contain her joy, is one of the most joyous expressions I’ve seen from someone advancing to the next round on a show like this. Anyway, we keep things moving right away.
TOP 5 RESULT #4
-Nick calls Viktor Kee and The Clairvoyants forward. I love Viktor’s stance. So poised at all times.
THE CLAIRVOYANTS ARE IN THE TOP FIVE!
VIKTOR KEE IS ELIMINATED FROM AMERICA’S GOT TALENT 2016!
And now, the final Top 5 result…
TOP 5 RESULT #5
-It’s down to Laura Bretan and Brian Justin Crum, and if I had to guess, I’d say Brian. But this could really go either way.
BRIAN JUSTIN CRUM IS IN THE TOP FIVE!
LAURA BRETAN IS ELIMINATED FROM AMERICA’S GOT TALENT 2016!
-Nick asks Simon for his thoughts, and he states that it says a lot about the quality of the acts this season to see who isn’t in the Top 5. He thinks this may be the best season of any competition he’s been a part of, judging from this Top 5.
To recap, your Top 5 are: Sal Valentinetti, Jon Dorenbos, Grace VanderWaal, The Clairvoyants and Brian Justin Crum.
FIFTH PLACE RESULT
-The act in fifth place…SAL VALENTINETTI!
Sal tells the crowd not to boo this result, because it’s the best show on Earth. He declares that this isn’t the end, it’s the beginning of the rest of his life. Heidi congratulates Sal on everything he’s accomplished as well. We then head to commercial as the padding on this finale gets downright ridiculous.
-Back from break with the results…
FOURTH PLACE RESULT
-The act finishing in fourth place is…BRIAN JUSTIN CRUM!
The crowd is shocked, but Brian is all smiles. He echoes Sal’s comments and says this is just the beginning, and he can’t wait to see more from America. Mel B is shocked, but she believes in Brian, and she wants front row seats to his first show.
THIRD PLACE RESULT
-So your top three is: Jon Dorenbos, Grace VanderWaal, and The Clairvoyants. Nick says this is the closest race they’ve ever had to win this show, as 1 percentage point separates ALL the top three.
The act finishing in third place is…JON DORENBOS!
Jon gets a farewell video as the crowd seems really stunned by this. I’m kind of stunned too, less that Jon was eliminated and more that The Clairvoyants finished so high. I’m happy for them though. In a classy exit speech, Jon shouts out the people behind the scenes who help run this show and make him a great performer. Howie calls this a televised version of Sophie’s Choice, because his heart is just being ripped out by these results. But he applauds Jon on all he accomplished.
-It’s time to find out the winner! But not before we final recap video of each finalist’s journey. After the videos, it’s time for Nick to read the result.
The winner of America’s Got Talent Season 11 is…GRACE VANDERWAAL!
GRACE VANDERWAAL WINS AMERICA’S GOT TALENT 2016!
-Grace falls to her knees in tears, and Howie rushes the stage to give her a hug and a kiss in an adorable little moment. Nick asks if these are joyful tears, and she cries, “Of course!” Howie then calls her a shooting star and tells her he loves her as red, white and blue confetti rains down from the ceiling. A wonderfully triumphant moment, and it’s a good thing she wasn’t asked to sing, because she was just simply flushed with emotion. That said, I’m not the least bit surprised by this result, and I couldn’t be happier for Grace.
Congratulations, Grace VanderWaal, the WINNER of America’s Got Talent 2016!
But what do you think of this result? Sound off in the comments!
Until next time, thank you for joining me this season! None of this would be possible without your readership!