The Most Successful ‘America’s Got Talent’ Contestants Ever
From The Voice to American Idol, there seems to be an endless number of competition shows that help people break into the entertainment industry. However, America’s Got Talent is in a league of its own. The series stretches well beyond the traditional singing and dance competition and includes talented folks who can do almost anything. For over 13 seasons, we’ve watched contestants dazzle us with fancy twirls and dangerous stunts.
While everyone comes to America’s Got Talent hoping to take home the $1 million prize, some of the contestants have gotten much more than that. From extensive tours to stellar endorsements, here are the most successful America’s Got Talent contestants ever.
15. Kevin Skinner
- Season 4
Season 4 winner Kevin Skinner might not be as financially successful as some of the other America’s Got Talent contestants, but he’s still got a massive following. When the vocalist won the series, he took home the $1 million prize in an annuity paid out over 40 years. In 2010, Skinner released his debut album Long Ride, but it failed to top the Billboard charts.
However, he still has loyal fans and has headlined a slew of concerts including one for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. Currently, Skinner’s net worth is $1 million.
Next: A crafty ventriloquist
14. Paul Zerdin
- Season 10
After winning Season 10 of America’s Got Talent, British ventriloquist Paul Zerdin and his puppet Sam set up shop in Las Vegas. Zerdin’s headline show, Mouthing Off ran for four months from May 14 to September 4, 2014, at Planet Hollywood. Once the show ended, the comedian headed back across the pond where he embarked on a massive tour of the U.K. introducing a slew of new characters into his show. Zerdin’s current net worth is $1.5 million.
Next: A comedian with a dragon alter-ego
13. Piff the Magic Dragon
- Season 10
You better be magical if your stage name is Piff the Magic Dragon. Piff aka John van der Put is a magician and comedian from the U.K. He appeared on the 10th Season of America’s Got Talent. Put had already risen to fame in the U.K. even appearing as an opening act for Mumford and Sons. Though he did not win AGT, his time on the show did give him massive exposure.
As a result of his time on AGT, Put garnered a residency at the Flamingo in Las Vegas where he put on his act.
Next: The best dog show ever
12. Olate Dogs
- Season 7
Perhaps some of the most creative contestants to ever grace America’s Got Talent stage have been father and son duo Richard and Nicholas Olate with their Olate Dogs. On top of taking the grand prize home, they embarked on the America’s Got Talent live tour. They also headed to Las Vegas where the headlined several shows.
The Olates have also started performing at NBA half-time games, and they’ve had two TV specials The Olate Dogs’s Christmas and Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular. Things have turned out wonderfully for the pair who very nearly skipped their America’s Got Talent audition.
Next: A pint-size ukulele player
11. Grace VanderWaal
- Season 11
When you’re called the next Taylor Swift, that can bring a ton of pressure on you, but teen sensation Grace VanderWaal didn’t let that deter her from killing the game as a singer-songwriter and ukulele player. After winning the eleventh season of America’s Got Talent, VanderWaal has toured with Imagined Dragons, opened and closed for the 2017 Special Olympics, and has garnered a starring role in Disney’s upcoming movie, Stargirl. She also partnered with Fender for the 2018 holiday season where she released two ukeleles.
It must be amazing to be worth $2 mullion before you’re even an adult.
Next: A former pizza delivery guy turned jazz singer.
10. Sal Valentinetti
- Season 11
Influenced by his grandmother’s love of classic vocalists like Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, and Frank Sinatra, former pizza delivery man Sal Valentinetti brought his love of the classics and his silky smooth voice to America’s Got Talent’s 11th Season. Though Valentinetti did not win the $1 million prize, he has gone on to tour all over the nation and release his first EP.
His motto is, “I’m going to entertain you like you’ve never been entertained before.”
These days the jazz artist is worth about $3 million.
Next: The first “America’s Got Talent” winner ever
9. Bianca Ryan
- Season 1
Bianca Ryan was the first ever winner of America’s Got Talent. She was just 11 when she took home the top prize and released her self-titled debut album shortly thereafter. Though she released a slew of music videos and singles in the years following, Ryan’s career slowed due to some health problems. In 2016, she underwent stomach surgery after being at risk for esophageal cancer. Since then she has dabbled in acting, and in 2018 she was the co-headliner of the Houpalooza Music Festival
Luckily, Ryan is feeling much better these days. She told E! News, “I learned to write music very young and write my own songs, and it’s helped me so much with the latest three singles I just released after a few year hiatus. I’m proud of opening my own label Bianca Ryan Records!”
Despite her health issues, Ryan has never stopped griding. She has a net worth of $3 million.
Next: A dazzling singer and ventriloquist
8. Darci Lynne Farmer
- Season 12
Oklahoma City native Darci Lynne Farmer was just 11 when she appeared on America’s Got Talent, but she obviously made quite the impression. The singer and ventriloquist was the Season 12 winner, and as a result, she won the $1 million prize and was given the opportunity to perform across the country for sold-out audiences as part of her Darci Lynne and Friends show.
Farmer also got a chance to open for Fergie at Caesar’s Palace on New Year’s Eve. Already, this pint-size talent is worth $3 million, and we can already see that the sky is the limit for her.
Next: The first ever Latina cast member in “Saturday Night Live” history.
7. Melissa Villaseñor
- Season 6
Comedian and impressionist Melissa Villaseñor was a semifinalist on Season 6 of America’s Got Talent. Though she did not win the top prize, she got the opportunity to do a slew of voice-overs for animated projects. In 2016, Villaseñor auditioned to be a cast member on Saturday Night Live, and she became the first ever Latina cast member in SNL history.
We think that’s a pretty good gig, especially since she didn’t win the competition.
Next: A vocalist who snagged a show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas
6. Michael Grimm
- Season 5
With his stellar vocals, Michael Grimm took home the $1 million prize as the Season 5, America’s Got Talent winner. After the show wrapped, the singer snagged a show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and released his self-titled album in 2011 which debuted at No. 13 on the Billboard charts.
Grimm has been consistent with his music –releasing more albums, opening for Stevie Nicks, and even returning to Vegas for various residencies. In 2016, he returned to the City of Sin to do a three-month residency at Vinyl.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Grimm is worth $3 million.
Next: A contestant who could make magic on stage.
5. Matt Franco
- Season 9
If it’s hard to break into the music industry, then we would assume that it’s nearly impossible to break on to the magic scene. However, Matt Franco didn’t seem to have any issues doing just that. The suave magician won Season 9 of America’s Got Talent, wowing the audience and the judges with his stellar tricks.
Right after the show, he garnered a headlining magic show at LINQ Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas where he got to showcase his work on an even bigger stage. In 2015, he headed back to NBC where he starred in his own two-hour TV special called Matt Franco’s Got Magic.
These days Franco is worth a whopping $3 million. Not bad at all for a self-taught magician.
Next: A songstress who made history as a runner-up.
4. Jackie Evancho
- Season 5
Way back in Season 5 when she was barely ten-years-old Jackie Evancho stunned the world when she made it all the way the finale and finished as the runner-up after Michael Grimm. However, Evancho didn’t let that deter her. She made history for being the youngest solo platinum artist of all time with a platinum-selling EP and seven albums, including three Billboard 200 top 10 debuts.
She has performed for everyone from Donald Trump to Pope Francis and has done a slew of philanthropy work. She’s also slowly transitioning from classical and gospel to pop. She told Teen Vogue, “I learned a great deal from the whole experience. It launched me in a big way, which I’m very grateful for.” Today the singer is worth $4 million.
Next: A violinist who also slayed on “Dancing with the Stars”
3. Lindsey Stirling
- Season 5
Violinist and dancer Lindsey Stirling stunned in Season 5 of America’s Got Talent. Though she didn’t take home the top prize, Stirling has wracked up a massive following on YouTube, and she has recorded three studio albums of electronic violin-centric music. In 2014, Stirling’s album, Shatter Me debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.
Stirling is worth $6 million, and she’s also toured the world. Recently she even competed on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
Next: An epic Texas-based trio
2. The Texas Tenors
- Season 4
When The Texas Tenors showed up on Season 4 of America’s Got Talent they stunned us all. The 3-time Emmy Award-winning trio is classical crossover vocal group was formed in 2009 by country singer JC Fisher, pop singer Marcus Collins and opera singer John Hagen. Though they did not win the fourth season of America’s Got Talent, The Texas Tenors have only soared since then. Since 2009, they have performed in over 1,500 concerts worldwide, the group’s third studio album RISE! debuted at #1 on the Billboard Charts, and they even got their very own PBS special.
The trio is only getting started. In 2019 they will return to AGT to compete on America’s Got Talent: The Champions.
Next: The $120 million contestant
1. Terry Factor
- Season 2
The most successful America’s Got Talent contestant is obviously the mega-talented ventriloquist, impressionist, comedian, and singer, Terry Factor. Way back in 2007 during the sophomore season of AGT, Factor skyrocketed to fame and took home the $1 million prize. That money is now just chump change to him.
Factor went on to sign a $100 million contract with The Mirage in Las Vegas where he is currently headling his show, Terry Fator: The Voice of Entertainment. Factor does 200 shows a year, and after the initial contract, he reportedly gets an additional $60 million for every extra year he signs on. The funnyman is now worth $120 million and he attributes all of his success to America’s Got Talent. He told Travel Zoo, “Let’s just say that if I hadn’t won, right now I’d be the most talented singing ventriloquist pumping gas in Corsicana, Texas. The truth is that everywhere I go, to this day, people mention me winning AGT. And I never get tired of hearing them share with me how they and their family voted for me. It’s why every night I want to give every fan the best show they have ever seen.”