Meet the Three Ventriloquists Who Have Won ‘America’s Got Talent’
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America’s Got Talent has crowned three ventriloquists as the winner over the years — Terry Fator, Paul Zerdin, and Darci Lynne Farmer. All three of them impressed the judges and the fans at home with their talent. Let’s take a look back at their journeys on the show, and their careers since winning.
Ventriloquists Who Have Won ‘America’s Got Talent’
Terry Fator, Season 2
Fator auditioned for the second season of AGT back in 2007. He said he was inspired to pursue ventriloquism when he read a book about it at age 10. Fator had been performing for over 20 years before trying out for the show.
For his audition, Fator performed with his puppet Emma Taylor, who sang “At Last” by Etta James with his help. As the season went on, he introduced the audience to other puppets such as Winston the turtle and Walter T. Airdale, singing such songs as “What a Wonderful World” and “Friends in Low Places.” He ended up winning the $1 million prize.
Since the show, Fator has found great success performing in Las Vegas. In 2008, he signed a five-year, $100 million contract to perform at The Mirage. The venue was even renamed as the Terry Fator Theatre. His Mirage residency eventually ended in 2020. He now performs at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino.
Paul Zerdin, Season 10
It took eight years for another ventriloquist to win AGT and that honor went to British performer Paul Zerdin. He shared that he used to perform magic and puppet shows as a kid. For his audition, Zerdin introduced the judges to his puppet friend, Sam.
Zerdin and Sam performed a hilarious routine that had the judges and audience laughing. Sam even kept talking after Zerdin put him back in his suitcase. Zerdin earned a standing ovation from the panel. Sam returned later in the season, as well as a baby puppet and Sam’s grandpa, Albert. Zerdin also used judge Howie Mandel as a puppet for one performance.
Paul won the $1 million prize and got a headline show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas which ran for four months. In 2019, he returned to compete in AGT: The Champions, and he also appeared on BGT: The Champions later that year. In recent years, Zerdin has performed in the London Palladium’s pantomime.
Darci Lynne Farmer, Season 12
In 2017, 12-year-old Darci Lynne auditioned for AGT with her puppet Petunia, who performed “Summertime” with Darci’s help. She shared her hope of keeping the art of ventriloquism alive. Judge Mel B loved the performance so much, she hit the Golden Buzzer to send Darci straight to the live shows.
As the competition continued, Darci performed with her other puppets, including Oscar the mouse and Edna Doorknocker. For the finale, she teamed up for a performance with Terry Fator, as their puppets Petunia and Winston performed a duet. Darci was named the winner, earning the $1 million prize.
In 2019, Darci returned for AGT: The Champions, finishing in second place behind magician Shin Lim. Now 17, Darci has performed three tours with her puppets, including the current My Lips Are Sealed (Except When They’re Not) Tour. She’s also returned to AGT several times as a guest performer.