15 'America's Got Talent' Winners and Where They Are Now

After a tumultuous year of setbacks, America's Got Talent is back with a bang.

This season will welcome back last year's judges, Howie Mandel, Simon Cowell, Sofía Vergara and Heidi Klum, and a limited live audience.

Season 16 began on Tuesday, June 1 on NBC with episodes airing weekly at 8 pm EST. until a winner is named in September 2021.

The hit competition series, which premiered on June 26, 2006, has discovered dozens of singers, magicians, ventriloquists and unique talent in its 15-year run.

Every year, AGT winners get an eyewatering $1,000,000 prize and the chance to headline a show on the Las Vegas Strip.

Newsweek has taken a look back at every former winner, to see how they fared with fame.

1. Bianca Ryan

Bianca Ryan
Season 1 winner Bianca Ryan during TNT's "Christmas in Washington 2006". (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage for Turner)

America's Got Talent's first winner, Bianca Ryan, was just 11 years old she won over audiences with her spectacular singing voice.

Despite suffering from a few setbacks, such as a paralyzed vocal cord, Ryan went on to release several EPs and appeared on AGT: The Champions.

The 26-year-old now vlogs regularly on her YouTube channel, sharing music, beauty tips and old tapes of her childhood performances to over 41.4K subscribers.

2. Terry Fator

Terry Fator
Comic ventriloquist and impressionist Terry Fator performs with his President Donald Trump puppet during his show in Las Vegas in 2018. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

AGT's first ventriloquist winner, Terry Fator, has stayed in the limelight since beating guitarist Cas Haley in Season Two. Fator has performed with his puppet across Las Vegas, and recently celebrated his 10th anniversary performing at the Mirage.

3. Neal E. Boyd

Neal E. Boyd
Recording artist and "Americas Got Talent" winner Neal E. Boyd performs at The Beacon Theatre on July 9, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Tragically, Opera singer Neal E. Boy died from heart and kidney failure compounded with liver disease in June 2018. He was 42 years old.

Season 3's AGT winner had previously released an album named "My American Dream" and even ran for office in his home state of Missouri.

4. Kevin Skinner

Kevin Skinner
Kevin Skinner performs on America's Got Talent Live at Planet Hollywood Casino Resort in Las Vegas in 2009. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)

Country singer, Kevin Skinner, had immediate success, releasing two albums in 2010 and 2011. But afterwards, he began to retreat from the spotlight. In 2014, the father of two was briefly reported missing.

5. Michael Grimm

agt the champion lineup
Michael Grimm is the only "America's Got Talent" winner taking part in the 2020 "Champions" season NBC

Singer and guitarist, Michael Grimm, had already released three studio albums before he won AGT in 2010. Since, he has released several more self-titled albums, as well as celebrating several family milestones.

In 2011, he used his payout from "AGT" to buy his grandparents a new house after theirs was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. In the same year, he married Lucie Zolcerova after proposing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

6. Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.

Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.
Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. performs at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in 2015. (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/WireImage)

Crowned winner of Season 6 in 2011, the jazz singer signed with Columbia Records that same year.

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., has been busy ever since. He has released albums, tried his hand at acting, and has recently earned his high school equivalency diploma over the pandemic.

7. Olate Dogs

Olate Dogs
Richard Olate and Nicholas Olate of Olate Dogs at the "America's Got Talent" Finale Week Red Carpet at New Jersey Performing Arts Center in 2012. (Photo by Manny Carabel/Getty Images)

Only one animal act has taken home the show's $1 million prize so far, duo Richard and Nicholas Olate.

The father-son dog-training team headlined in Las Vegas and even released a Christmas album in 2013, that included dogs barking classic tunes. More recently, the act has performed throughout Texas with their Circus Olate show, whilst raising awareness about pet adoption.

8. Kenichi Ebina

Kenichi Ebina
Japanese dancer Kenichi Ebina performs at The Greek Theatre in 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)

The Japanese dancer and performing artist won AGT in 2013 and has gone on to tour worldwide. Kenichi Ebina has performed on TV and during L.A. Dodgers games and has developed an iPhone app called Dance-ish Me, that teaches users his impressive moves.

9. Mat Franco

Mat Franco
America's Got Talent season 9 winner magician Mat Franco performs during America's Got Talent Live at The AXIS Powered by Monster at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on September 26, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Bryan Steffy/WireImage)

Matt Franco stunned judges with his incredible magic tricks, earning him the title of Season 9 winner. Afterwards, he starred in a two-hour NBC special, Mat Franco's Got Magic, before landing a dream gig in Las Vegas.

The magician performs at the LINQ Hotel and Casino, and has recently resumed show following a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

10. Paul Zerdin

Paul Zerdin US TV Show
Paul Zerdin during the final performances of America's Got Talent aired Tuesday 15 September. Youtube

After winning Season 10, the British puppeteer was asked to headline his own Las Vegas show, "Mouthing Off," at Planet Hollywood. However, the show was cancelled due to low ticket sales.

Paul Zerdin picked himself back up, and has performed in the U.K, on Disney Cruises, and on London's West End.

11. Grace VanderWaal

stargirl disney plus
Grace VanderWaal leads the cast of 'Supergirl' on Disney+ Disney+

12-year-old Grace VanderWaal won Season 11 in 2016 with her singing and ukulele ensemble.

VanderWaal won "Choice Next Big Thing" at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards and released a debut album after. In 2020, she headlined the Disney+ movie Stargirl.

12. Darci Lynne Farmer

Darci Lynne My Hometown Christmas Promo
Darci Lynne Farmer singing "My Hometown Christmas" Promo

The singer and ventriloquist has continued to perform since winning Season 12. She had a national tour, "Darci Lynne and Friends Live" and hosted a Christmas special on NBC.

13. Shin Lim

Shin Lim AGT: The Champions
Shin Lim, AGT Season 13 winner at AGT: The Champions. Trae Patton/NBC

The Canadian-American magician and winner of Season 13 took over the Terry Fator Theatre at the Mirage Casino Hotel, when the show came to an end. He has recently signed a multi-year residency at the Mirage with his show "Limitless."

14. Kodi Lee

Who Won 'America's Got Talent' Last Season?
Terry Crews and Kodi Lee appear on the Season 14 finale of "America's Got Talent." Trae Patton/NBC

Kodi Lee, a blind and autistic singer who won over judges with his dulcet tones, is set to perform again this year. Lee will sing at Pala Casino Spa and Resort's summer concert series in California in 2021.

15. Brandon Leake

americas got talent winner 2020 brandon leake
Brandon Leake is the winner of 'America's Got Talent' 2020. NBC

AGT's most recent winner, Brandon Leake, became a household name after winning hearts with his spoken word poetry.

Like every AGT winner, Leake got the chance to headline a show in Vegas, but this has been delayed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the poet is seeing the bright side, and has said the hiatus has allowed him to enjoy his extraordinary win with his wife and daughter.

americas got talent judges
Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum, Terry Crews, Sofia Vergara and Simon Cowell are all returning 'America's Got Talent' 2021. NBC