'America's Got Talent': A chat with season 4 winner Kevin Skinner

Kevin-Skinner_lHe started the fourth season of America’s Got Talent telling the judges wild stories from his days as a chicken-catcher. He finished it…as the million dollar winner, preparing to headline a Vegas show in a little over a month. Only in America! Kevin Skinner, the singer/guitarist from Mayfield, KY, beat out opera singer Barbara Padilla and music group Recycled Percussion (among other competition) to take home AGT‘s top prize Wednesday night. He took some time today to chat about his victory, as well as his upcoming Vegas show.

Congratulations on winning America’s Got Talent! How does it feel?
It’s surreal, you know. You chase a dream for so long, and it’s hard to believe when you get a little recognition for things that you’ve done for so long. It’s a great feeling.

You wake up on Thursday morning and you say “holy crap. I’m a millionaire and I’ve got a performance contract.”
That’s how you feel. Like, this can’t be happening to me. One part of you says “okay, this has happened, now I’ve got to go through with it” and the other part is saying “how is this happening to me?” It’s kind of crazy, but in a good way.

At what point in Wednesday’s show did winning seem like a real possibility?
It was right up to the very end. I didn’t really know, and I’m sure nobody really knew. When they called out my name… I wasn’t really looking for it — I mean, I knew there was a chance they would, but I also knew there was a chance that they could call Barbara’s name, too. So it came as a big surprise.

What was it in the end that made America vote for you? What quality pushed you over the edge?
I kind of think — and I’ve heard a lot of people tell me this — that I connected with the audience, that people all across America were connected to me. I’m just a common, everyday person. I don’t look any different, more flashy than I would everyday. People connected with that. I’m kind of like the friend next door, you know? I think I also just chose a good song, too, and it turned out great. I think that’s what gave me the edge.

So you’re going to be headlining a show in Vegas. What happens between now and the start of the show?
Just…spending as much time with my family as I can, you know, and friends. Doing a little practicing, getting prepared. Maybe writing up a song list. Just being me for a little while before I have to go out and start playing again.

What is the show exactly?
I’ll be headlining a show that plays Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights, and one show on Sunday. I’ll be doing that every week. Some two-hour nights, some less. That was my understanding of it, though that could change. I was told it might be Planet Hollywood, but I’m not sure.

Will you be singing country only? Will that work for a Vegas crowd?
I can sing a variety of stuff…just need to feel the crowd out, have a variety of songs and go from there.

What was your most memorable moment from America’s Got Talent?
Probably when they played back my video on Wednesday’s show, leading up to me and Barbara standing out on stage. That was a great feeling, filled with a lot of emotion. It had been a lot of hard work — a long road to get up to that point. That was definitely the most memorable part of the show.

Photo Credit: Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Comments (385 total) Add your comment
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  • James

    What was America thinking? This guy can’t sing worth a darn. If he represents America’s top talent, all is lost. I’ll never watch this show again . . . it’s just too much to stomach.

    • Toni

      AGT is all about people just like Kevin. America finally got it right!! It’s probably better you don’t watch this show again, it is for us Americans who have an open mind and open heart. Make us proud Kevin!!

      • billie

        Wiel Imm gled he did one. We’all nead h’im.

      • Kris

        I agree with you…Kevin is what america is all about.Barbara had formal training, she has already been recongnized,and she is educated, check out her website. Kevin has an amazing talent and came from nothing and I think he deserved all $1,000,000! GO KEVIN SKINNER!!!!!

      • Jan

        YOu are right with you Tony

    • Lana Kanitz

      You are so right – the worst performance by far of the finale night. So off key – and to beat out the best voice ever Barbara Padilla – just makes me sick… but it also explains Willie Nelson

      • Dinesh

        My wife and i were blown away about Kevin. I think anyone who has a voice like this should be given the 1,000,000. He came from an ordinary family and made it to the top. This is the American dream and what this country is about. Way to go man! Kevin Skinner

    • steve

      James, I have to agree with your comments. I said to my family (none of whom voted for this contestant) that I am done with this show. Lately it’s been more about the story than the talent. There was a much higher talent base this year, unfortunaately Kevin Skinner wasn’t among them.

      • LOUANN


      • Tim

        I agree. All about they nice guy with marginal singing talent. Millions of hicks and out of work Americans were pretending to be him, voting for him, forgetting to vote for the best talent (Barbara by 1,000 miles)

      • Patty

        Steve, so you’re gonna take your toys and go home; done with this show! Guess you wanted opera singers to win two years in a row. Know where the opera singer is from last year? No, guess you don’t. You just might be hearing from Kevin Skinner again. Good recording contract. He sure cannot live on the $25 thousand per year for forty years that he won on AGT. America DID have talent this year AND without a Latino accent. The Latino lottery: win a million dollars and get a dollar per year for a million years.

    • Kasey

      James and Steve. I really don’t think you guys have any idea what talent is. this sounds like a personal problem

    • Ron

      I agree 100%. This guy is a back-woods farmer who can play some guitar and has modest singing talent. I really don’t get it. BUT, I was not impressed with any of the singers, including Barbara Padilla. Note that I am NOT putting them down. They all have some talent but NONE of them are superstars. Some of the outcome is to do with the judges. They swoon over some of the contestants and the American Audience falls for it a bit. Personally, I hate the format, I can’t stand the host, and I am with you. I am giving up on America’s Got Talent, but will still keep an eye on Brittan’s got Talent, as the show seems to truly produce better talents. JMHO

      • Ron

        I wanted to point out one more time that I am NOT putting the performers down. Their “stories” are interesting and so forth. I just was not impressed by their abilities to perform in their categories. Nothing personal, just my opinion.

      • Wendy

        Well everyone my son and I watched this show faithfully and we were shocked that Kevin Skinner beat out Barbara. She in my opinion was one of the most beautiful singers I have ever heard. It’s a real shame that she didn’t win.

      • HHP


        I think you must be a music genius. Did you do any record or video where I can find your ability to judge the music? If not keep mum

      • HHP

        All you Music geniuses

        Let me tell you what the music is!

        Music is the combination of vocal (Lyrics) and sound of Instruments which reaches to the hearts of people and Kevin has done this in a perfect way. However Barbara was the best but Opera is not as favorite as country for the general public so Kevin won.

        Now stop all this criticism because millions of people voted and your individual opinion does not count.

      • LOUANN


      • jim

        How could you not be impressed by Barbara Padilla? Are you tone deaf? She has a beautiful voice nd hopefully we will hear from her again. Remember they can come back and try again.

      • Dawn Willie

        Im sorry but Kevin is not just a backwoods farmer. He is humble and very proud of where he comes from and is a hard worker. Just because we are from Graves County yall wanna say we are hicks and backwood farmers. Get a life. We are country, good people and we work hard for what we have.

      • james lemaire

        You can always move to England~~open door policy to all Americans who don’t believe in America, you a tea sipper ?

      • Patty

        Ron, I think Hoff was swooning before the finale show started. What the heck was he talking about “the woman with the teeth?” Sadly, one of his children found him passed out the next evening, called 911 and Hoff was hospitalized with alcohol poisoning.

    • Ben


      I appreciate your opinion, but look around at some of the biggest artists of all time as an example, Neil Young, he does not have the best voice but he has also over 40 successful albums…Music is story telling, well at least the good stuff and Kevin not only has a story, you can feel the lyrics as they as sung. I will full admit he does not have the best voice but his story, personality and genre indentifies very much for what America was built on and stands for! I believe America made a good choice but I also beieve the other top 3 could have also won number 1. Just my opinion…

      • Bobbie

        Let’s not forget Willie Nelson, compared to others, Willie can’t sing either but his heart is in every song he sings which makes it special. The Fab Five had a better chance of coming in second than even Barbara. Now they are a true Vegas Act….. but congrats Kevin, you did an exceptional job.

      • Bob Cumby

        Well said.

      • tyler mcneill

        i got some kevin skinner autographs and autographed t-shirts if you want to buy some

    • Michael Payne

      Hey Kevin haters: AGT has been set up for such a win like this. I am sure Mr. Skinner has been criticized much more through his hard life than what you folks who hate are doing now. He can handle what your saying. As you know you are being shallow and at the end of the day he had what it took to win. He did not have any of the training and money before the show began as did many of the other contestants. I am proud to see less fortunate Americans be discovered for once. I voted for him many times and give him all the support one can from home. I will also pay to see his show in Vegas and buy any cd he records. I feel better as an American Knowing that he will continue to be humble with the money he has earned and take care of his family, which is something many men can not seem to do here in the states. Good Job Kevin.

      • Patty Mills

        Michael Payne, I’m from the Kentucky town that is built within a meteorite crater. Come see us; you sound really nice. You’d fit right in here with us. Contrary to what some people think, we do have electricity and indoor plumbing! We’re all very proud of Kevin. Sorry to say that the million will be doled out to him over the next 40 years in increments of 25 thousand yearly. Thanks for the comments!
        Patty in Middlesboro, KY

      • Judy Woodland

        Michael you have said it all. Keven is an everyday american guy. I’m so glad he won. He might not be the best singer, but he has a lot else going on. His emotion in his singing is something you don’t see in everyone. It’s nice to see the under dog win.

      • Linda

        I agree with you Michael. I felt so proud that Kevin won. He deserved it. I too will go to Vegas to see his and buy his CD’s

      • tyler mcneill

        i got some kevin skinner autographs and autographed t-shirts and videos

    • Steve

      There’s always some fools out there who get behind a keyboard and decide that their opinion should overrule millions of others. Kevin has talent. It’s raw in some aspects, but it’s a hell of a lot more than any of you fools knocking him will ever have. You don’t even have the talent to know when to keep your ignorant thoughts to yourselves.

    • MARIE

      o.k. James -go to your room, stomp your feet, and cry that you’ll never watch AMGT again. Too bad for you that America voted and it wasn’t what you wanted.

      • LOUANN



      THIS GUY CAN’T SING!!! ARE YOU GUYS F*****G CRAZY!!! THIS GUY IS THE REAL DEAL!!! GO KEVIN. Yall just mad cause GOOD OL’ KENTUCKY WON IN SOMETHIN OTHER THAN BASKETBALL!!!! LOL What a great find for the bluegrass state. Couldn’t be happier to say he’s from my home state and i voted for him ALL THE WAY!!!! Represented very well, and well deserved.

      • tyler mcneill

        just cause you aint good at nothing dont mean you got to talk like other people like dogs .look in the mirror and tell me what you see dummy

    • Fred

      There’s so much more to talent than just talent. It has to do with heart and soul and connecting with an audience. It has to do with authenticity and honesty and humility. Kevin has all of that. I for one am tired of flashy vocal acrobatics that cause me to hit the mute button. They do not elevate. They only alienate. Kevin gives us hope. His winning was the best thing that could have happened.

      • Genavieve

        I agree 100% with you Fred…I couldn’t have said it better myself you stole my comments

    • Jamie

      I can’t believe you watched this show to begin with – it’s just completely lame. Sorry, but I don’t need “the Hoff” or Sharon Osbourn to tell me if someone has talent. I am really surprised that they have 2 britts telling America who they should vote for. I’ve never heard of any of the previous winners and I doubt I’ll ever here of this guy again going forward. Oh, and the fact that they haven’t even lined up a place for him to play in Vegas just further shows how lame the show is.

      • jim

        I was gonna say something but it’s a clean website

      • Shirl

        he’s lined up Jamie…what’s all the fuss about anyway?…Be happy for other people..maybe it will come your way.

    • Chance

      You might be thinking of this show as a copy of American Idol or something. It is not. It is America got talent. He might not be the best singer out there (Wich he wasn’t even on the show), but there is a uniqueness in him, the naivety, the preness that made him the favorite of everyday joes. Remember, the judges don’t make the winner, America does………

    • Marlene

      Sorry you have no heart. And I understand not liking a particular style, but that doesn’t mean the whole world has to think like you. America has spoken, Kevin has a lot of heart and I wish him the best.

    • jim

      I saw Kevin on Regis & Kelly. I wish him all the best and Barbara Padilla also.

    • sawsharee

      If you had watched his first performance you would have been “routing” for Kevin to win. He is what the American Dream is all about and he definitely has talent.

      • Bob Cumby

        True enough

    • Tazkelli

      Kevin is what America’s Got Talent is all about. He sounds like Willie Nelson and try telling Willie after all his years and albums that he doesn’t have talent. What did you want the opera singer to win. You know the one that was so sure she had it. That’s what turned people off of her.

    • Tazkelli


    • Jan

      I disagree with you. Kevin has a God given talent to sing.

      • tyler mcneill

        i got some kevin autographs and autographed t-shirst videos

    • Lori Jones

      How can you say that? What is wrong with you. Kevin Skinner may not have the best vocals but he clearly sings from his heart and soul and it that does not touch you then you must have a heart like a stone. Get a Life.

    • Free

      James and all you Kevin Skinner haters, you need to all get a life and stop criticizing others that can touch millions with their hearts and souls. Yeah, maybe he is is not the best voice according to YOU in the world, but for the rest of us, that knows that he will go far with his career, because he has what it takes. That is a lot more I can say about Kevin, than I could about a lot of other singers out there. American voted rightly. So now James, go to your room and cry and never again watch AGT so you do not have to whine anymore!

    • deb

      i think you are jealous of kevin skinner. my mom is eighty years old and she picked him as the winner the first night. no one will lose any sleep over you not watching next season. kevin is really cute, a good family man and pulls you into his music, emotionally. i bet you can’t sing,at all. kevin is great and deserves to win the million dollars. you are a miserable idiot.

      • tyler mcneill

        i got kevin skinner autographs and autographed t-shirts and videos if you want to buy them

    • james lemaire

      It’s easy to tell you sure aren’t country ! LOL

    • Heather Meinke

      I’m done watching this show.. Kevin Skinner is the worst singer imaginable! I may not like country music but I do know he wasn’t singing in key. Not much of an opera fan either but Barbara Padilla had WAY more talent in one fingernail than Kevin Skinner does!

    • Chick

      Wah, Wah, Wah! Sorry that you hate Southerners. Don’t you think you’re being a bit dramatic saying junk like “all is lost”? That kind of rhetoric would be better suited to the political message boards. It was a contest…on television…voted on by not-impartial people. I’m glad that dude won, and I hope he makes MILLIONS. He didn’t have the perfect pitch on every song, but, like others have said, he moved people.

    • Becki

      it is funny how everyone can critisize others on their talent, pass judgement on others on risk-taking…maybe you are all jealous that this simple man took the chance and how AMERICA voted for him to have a life altering chance in his life. good luck Kevin you deserve it!

    • countrygirl

      james, you know what, you need to listen to him in person and then make your judgement, that’s what i did and KEVIN SKINNER can rock the gym

    • Shirl

      I believe he deserved the win…I think Barbara had a beautiful voice…but she can easily make it anywhere singing Opera…kevin deserves a chance..he has heart

  • zipper


  • Sue

    I think, America was thinking
    what a natural, raw talent.
    Someone whose emotions entered
    their song. Someone whose music
    they would purchase. Congrats Kevin – you deserved it.

  • mike

    I belive america got it right he can sing but most of all he has styel

    • Patty Mills

      Whoa, color you green with envy. Calm down. Stop shouting. Learn punctuation. A little education never hurt anybody. Did you graduate from high school like our Kevin did?

      • MC

        Love your message it says it all!

      • james lemaire

        You go girl !!!

    • arleen

      as far as i am concerned,sure the last song he sang was not his best, but all the rest was the best and your all just jealous so get a life and be nice because you all know he is good and he is thankfull.not much i can say about you negative people,now is there?

    • Keith

      Kevin ,who ever you are ,can you do any better?

      • MC

        He did better than you. How many millions do you have?

    • LOUANN


    • Deb

      Learn how to write a proper sentence.

    • Richard

      WOW you really need some stress management. Take a pill or have a couple of beers, works for me, after the beers listen to Kevin again … you’ll really like his stuff.

  • Juanita Albright

    This young man has talent that you will see around for a long time. American people did the right thing. We are in Country Music and Kevin will make it to the top. Keep the good tunes coming.

  • Jan

    Kevin Skinner was on Ellen’s show today and performed fabulously. He played his guitar and sang without a background band or additional singers.

  • the other conway

    Great win, Kevin! You are unique, special and down to earth. Stay that way.
    Bless God by all you do and God will bless you in all you do.

  • Janet Wallace

    Kevin was great was he was up there to enterain and it sure was nice to see someone stand still and sing with out all the jumping around.

  • Catherine

    This guy was horrible, almost laughable. What a joke.

    • Natasha

      I have a question to all the people who have a problem with Kevin Skinner—can you sing? Are you a vocal professional?? I really would hope so but I am sure the real answer is No…and the really funny thing is in this deep recession I’m sure most people posting comments on here hating on kevin are just mad that they don’t have a million dollars…Well don’t we all wish we would be so wealthy? The reality is Kevin Skinner is a completely unique humble person with extraordinary raw talent. So what, he is not your cup of tea. That is no reason to bash the man or the show–point being you STILL watched it….Grow up, when will America learn that our selfish and mean behavior towards others is one of the main reasons why we are so disliked around the world. Take a good look at yourself then decide whether or not to comment on someone else like that–again, I don’t remember anyone on this post saying they were on AGT!

      • Gloria Carroll

        Amen. Go Kevin. God bless and more success to you and your family.

    • Keith

      Catherine your a joke.You all want to get on here and say the show was rigged and Skinner has no talent.Well take a good look at your self and tell me what you see.

      • tyler mcneill

        i got some kevin skinner autographs and auto graphed t-shirts and videos

    • LOUANN


  • Ann

    I don’t know what America is thinking because Kevin has NO TALENT and it was fraud that Barbara didn’t win ’cause she sings WAY BETTER THAN KEVIN!

    • Greg

      Ann, what you and a lot of other people fail to see is that yes, the guy does have talent. His guitar skills are top notch and he sings with a lot of emotion in his songs. Barbara is a classically trained Opera singer and face it, not only are people just not interested in that style of music, people don’t go to Vegas to hear that kind of music. They can hear Opera style music in just about every town in America. And if your in a state of denial about that, just walk in to the Music/CD section of your local Best Buy or even Walmart for that matter and check out the size of the Country Music CD’s vs. the Opera/Classical Music CD’s. It is at least 10 times larger. That should be a hint to you as well as anyone else who questions why Kevin Skinner won and Barbara Padilla did not.

    • Montana

      If I was going to a show in Vegas I would rather sit for an hour and listen to Kevin than Barbara……..sorry

    • Keith

      Well Ann, Kevin does have talent and he can play and sing good. Barbara has a real good voice to but who wants to listen to opera

    • Keith

      Barbara can sing,ther is no dought,but she did not have what it took to win

    • LOUANN


    • Lynn

      Barbara has a beautiful voice, and did a beautiful job…I enjoyed her very much. However, she should do a beautiful job, she has a Masters in music. Also, she has already had some success in music. I believe this is for true novices, not trained voices. That said, I hope to hear her again and again and am happy for Kevin.

    • Shirl

      I agree with Greg…Barbara can go far with her talent, Opera…Kevin will do great!!! in Vegas, and anywhere else.

  • bob k

    What a joke. i’m done with this show. To invest time in following this show and to see 4 or 5 other acts get ripped off is too much. I don’t know how the three judges kept a straight face.

  • Dale Wayne

    All I can say is Great Job Kevin and Congratulations! Also if I’m not mistaken, wasn’t America the one voting and I believe there was how many votes for Kevin Skinner….. hmmmm MILLIONS!!!!!

  • Jennie McElyea

    Congratulations Kevin, get some good financial help from a bank so you can trust it and sing from your heart like you did on the show. I believe in you Jennie age 67

  • kELLY

    Kevin I loved your performance and I was hoping that you are the TX Tenors would win. You did a great job and are a fantastic singer and person. Hope to see you in Vegas!

  • Nancy

    I am proud of you and how you presented yourself during the America’s Got Talent season. I am Candadian and damn proud of how you represented yourself as an American, a fantastic singer, and as a humble contestant. You go for it because you deserve this wonderful opportunity that has just happened to you. You are an honor to represent what America’s Got Talent is all about. You have such a wonderful voice and Canada is very, very proud of you today!!!!!!!!

    Nancy “a proud Canadian”

    • m-1

      Nancy, thank you for your comments on Kevin – America loves him and will make us proud. I have relatives in Canada and I love Canada.


      you know its pretty sad when we got people in USA here puttin down there own guy and someone from another country praises him…LMFAO he’s already GOING GLOBAL!!!! GO KEVIN!!!

    • Richard

      Way to go Nancy … I’m up in Ottawa and hope Kevin finds his way here after awhile. I love his style … clean, simple and you take what you get. The slick and polished perfect songs of the pro’s really don’t get to me the way Kevin does. I hope the spin doctors don’t make him over and I hope I never see kevin in gold chains, sequines, and $500.00 pants ….

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