NBCs America’s Got Talent ends its 17th season next week, and Billboard looks back at the 16 talented winners who have made history in the series so far.
Created by previous american idol judging X Factor mastermind and Syco Entertainment founder Simon Cowell, the global talent competition premiered in the US on NBC in 2006. The idea was to find the best talent of any age in the country – whether they specialized in singing, dancing, performing magic tricks, acting as ventriloquists or even training dogs to do . tricks — and then have them headline a show on the Las Vegas Strip in addition to winning a $1 million cash prize.
The show is currently hosted by Terry Crews and has Cowell, Heidi Klum, Sofia Vergara and Howie Mandel as the judges, who recruit viewers’ help to choose the most talented contestant, and each season’s top picks run the gamut of skills.
A handful of musicians have been on top in the past, including the show’s first-ever champion, the then 11-year-old singer Bianca Ryanwhose small frame belied her massive pipes on Dream girls showstopper “And I’m telling you I’m not going to.” Other musical winners include the late opera singer Neal Boyd (season 3), jazz singer Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. (season 6), then 12-year-old singer/songwriter Grace VanderWaal (season 11), and blind and autistic singer Cody Lee (Season 14). Two singing ventriloquists have also taken home the award, with Terry Fator winning season 2 and then-12-year-old performer Darci Lynne winning season 12.
Below is a complete list of which talented actors won at the end of each season.