Last night (Wednesday, Sept. 16), 35-year-old country balladeer Kevin Skinner grabbed the top prize in the fourth season of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” winning $1 million and a chance to headline in Las Vegas.
“The American public aren’t stupid,” said judge Piers Morgan – who had named Skinner early on as one to watch — right after the end of the competition. “They voted for him, because they recognized one of them. This is a guy off the porch in Kentucky, unemployed, used to catch chickens. Now he’s won the biggest talent competition in the world.”
With his wife, Kristen, his daughter, Sydney, his parents, his older brother and his wife, and his cousin and his wife, in attendance, Skinner wound up in the final two with opera singer and cancer survivor Barbara Padilla.
“It’s starting to sink in,” Skinner said after the competition, “and it’s not fully yet. I think it’ll be a while before it sinks in fully. I always tell everybody, when I walk out and play in front of 80 or 100,000 people, that’s when it will sink in.”
But he was full of praise for Padilla, whom he had cited to Zap2it as his biggest competition.
“I think she will move the industry, Barbara will,” Skinner said. “She’s got a voice that’s out of this world. I’m sure she’s had offers already for big engagements.
“If I’m able to be there, I sure will. I’d like to be there to watch that. It’ll be a pleasure.”
He also had admiring words for “Britain’s Got Talent” runner-up Susan Boyle – who was also out of a job when she auditioned for the U.K. talent show – who made her American debut on the “AGT” finale with a stunning performance of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses.”
“A natural that was discovered,” Skinner said, “what I’d say, just in the nick of time.”
Told that she’s now married to a singing superstar, Kristin Skinner said, “Well, I always knew I was. This just puts the icing on the cake. I can really say it and mean it now.”
While he did have on snakeskin boots, Skinner was not wearing his familiar baseball cap.
“But I do feel comfortable with a hat on,” Skinner said. “I like to, every once in a while, go back to that look and let people know that I’m still the common person that I was.”
At that moment, judge Sharon Osbourne swooped in to give Skinner a kiss on the cheek. He smiled and continued, “I don’t want to get too far away from that. I just try to sing from what I’m feeling inside and hope that the people watching me will experience what I felt, and they can relate to it.”
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