'America's Got Talent': The season 5 winner speaks!

SPOILER ALERT! If you’ve been waiting all day to catch up on the finale of America’s Got Talent, stop reading now. If you have seen the finale, or aren’t bothered by spoilers, read on for our Q&A with the season 5 winner. 

Michael-GrimmImage Credit: Trae Patton/NBCLast night saw an America’s Got Talent finals that included a 10-year-old opera-singing prodigy and a man named Poppycock, so some were surprised to hear America voted 30-year-old Michael Grimm as the winner. But when you remove all the bells and whistles, the soulful, silky smooth, singer from Mississippi was consistent week after week, proving to the judges that he wasn’t just another guitar player (he even lost his signature hat at their request!). The lovable Grimm took some time out of his hectic day to call EW and attempt to process his big win. Read on for more about his future music plans, commitment to give back to the Gulf Region, and promise to buy his grandparents a house (Aw).

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Congratulations! How does it feel to be the winner? You looked pretty surprised when they said your name.
MICHAEL GRIMM:
Oh, I was very surprised. I mean, I really didn’t expect to make it all the way to the end. To be next to Jackie in the final two there, I knew it was over for me, because Jackie — she’s just a powerhouse. And I knew for sure [that] she had it, but it was a big surprise to me when they called my name out. I was prepared to bow out gracefully!

When it came down to Prince Poppycock, Fighting Gravity, and 10-year-old Jackie Evancho, did you ever fear that you might be at a disadvantage as a singer in the finals?
No. I just kind of did my thing, and I never really compared what I do to [the other finalists]. Like you said, they’re all different acts, so it’s hard to compare myself with that. They’re all very, very talented. As far as what I was doing — yeah, maybe once I thought about it, like, “Maybe what I’m doing should be on American Idol or something.” But, you know, it’s not easy to get in the doors, and I tried out last year for this and it didn’t work out. This is my second time, and I got in. America’s Got Talent gives me the opportunity to do what I do instead of becoming a pop singer.

Did you ever consider auditioning for any other shows?
No, you know, I thought about it, but I said “No, I’m not going to do American Idol,” because, once again, I’m not a pop singer. Even if America’s Got Talent wasn’t on, I don’t think I would try out for American Idol. It’s a great tool for starting people’s careers and [for] kids, but I’m just not a pop singer.

What was your most memorable performance from the show?
Winning it? [Laughs] That would be the most memorable moment.

Any specific song you performed? Which was your favorite?
They all were pretty much my favorites, but I’d say if there’s any of them that I gravitate towards more, it would be the first one I did called “You Don’t Know Me.” Actually, it’s an old country song, but Ray Charles did that version.

What was the most helpful piece of advice or criticism you received from the judges?
They told me: “Stay being yourself, don’t change.” That’s one of the things Piers was telling me, and Howie, and Sharon. Sharon wanted me to take off the hat there for awhile, but in the end she wound up buying me a fedora.

A fedora, really?
Yeah, they all were telling me to stay true to [myself], don’t change, and keep doing what [I’m] doing. And that’s great advice, because you can easily listen to them when they’re telling you not to do what you’re doing and [to] go and do something else. But I like that. I like that they told me that because I know me. I’m 30, so I’ve been doing this for quite awhile now, and how do I change after that long? That was the best advice that I got, because it was something that I needed to hear.

How are your grandparents? Were they in the audience last night?
They weren’t at this last one. They were in town last week, but then [my grandmother] got sick. She got a little cold while she was in town and couldn’t make it out for the next show. I tried.

I’m sure they’re so proud and so excited.
Oh you know it. Extremely. I called her last night she was boo-hooing and had press by her house, you know, along with all the family. She’s definitely getting a lot of love right now, and I can’t wait to get down there and get her into this house and start on that.

Do you know where you’re going to buy her a house?
It will be back in Hancock County, Miss., of Pearl River County, where she currently lives.

What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you go home?
Well I live in Las Vegas. [I’ve] been out there for 10 years, so to go back home [to Mississippi] would mean to do gigs, to take care of my friends and family, and try to help the community with certain things. It’s not coming up fast enough from the destruction it had five years ago [with] Hurricane Katrina, and then we had the BP oil spill. There’s a black cloud over the area and a lot of people are gloomy, so this is bringing a lot of smiles to their faces right now. They need it. If I go back home, it will be to sing for them, to do whatever I can, to bring more happiness and peace for the moment.

And you’ll be on the upcoming America’s Got Talent live tour?
Yes ma’am, can’t wait for that. It’s going to be exciting.

What do you hope your music career looks like in a year from now?
Well, I’ve had an album that I’ve always wanted to cut, I just haven’t had the money to do it or the label with their connections and everything. [It’s been] mainly money, [and] now I have the money and now I have the labels interested, so I feel like I’m going to get to cut the album that I’ve been wanting to cut. [It’s] a compilation of my material, my own originals, and we’ll check out a lot of other songs out there. But I know the genre, I know the route I want to go on this album, what it looks like, and smells like, and sounds like.

For those who are just getting to know you, how would you describe what kind of artist you are and what kind of music you perform?
I am a blue-eyed soul singer…but I have brown eyes! [laughs]

Comments (196 total) Add your comment
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  • Carrie #2

    No disrespect, but he looks like a weird mix between Jason Mraz and Heath Ledger.

    • stacey 2

      I think Grimm deserved to win. Grim is first and foremost a very talented singer, who was on the show from week one who soared through the competition with character, talent, compassion for others and determination and he is a pure delight. He was so humble when he won and so appreciative and the man cried on live TV, there was no mistake made he won fair and square and it could not of happened to a nicer human being.

    • Deb

      I think he’s a dead ringer for Orlando Bloom.

  • Michele Steele

    No disrespect, but I don’t think he should have won. He in no way had the talent that Jackie E. did. And where is the guy from last year? Who is voting?

    • PANCHITO

      Jackie E. is only 10! Who knows what she’ll sound like in a year or two? N O B O D Y !

    • Okiedew

      The guy from last year you ask his new record is has just been released and can be bought at any store that carry’s music I got mine at Walmart His name is Kevin Skinner

    • jobbse@sbcglobalnet

      She had it in the bag…NBC PUSHED her down our throats!! But Michael had something special…that made people get to those phones ….if Jackie would have had that she would have won…Blame her so called fans for that one…I wish they would stop whining already MG won GET OVER IT!!!

    • jaydee

      Millions of us voted for Michael. He is the music to our ears. He has such character, true to himself, strong values, generous, that make his music even sweeter to our ears. He is the real music that we’ve been craving since the 60s & 70s. Sing it, Michael!

      • marierose

        My favorite was prince he is so handsome. Like outof thisworld but I voted for michael grimm I don’t know why maybe because I like all the song he sang on the show but the only thing that really disgusted was that all these time since the audition he only mention about his grandparents and he cries and tell the whole world that he is poor from the beginning and he owes it to his grandparents but he never mention about his real parents where are they and what happened to them. Also the most thing that really aggravated me the most is that he never mentioned his girlfriend from day one to end and all of a sudden he appeared in Helen show and proposed to this ugly lady with long nose and I could not believe my eyes. I feel like vomiting why, why do you want to ask her to marry you when you have a million ask her when you don’t have it. Anyway she is no where close to that Lady he was having duet her name is Mckenna Medley I wish that was his girlfriend she is talented, beautiful, sexy and sings like an angel. Wow, he just screwed himself up. He just won and jumped on something he will be sorry the rest of his life. His life is no longer the same so she is not the right person to marry and why marry anyway. Now she will control him and maybe she will say just put your grandparent to the home I want my million dollar mansion ha, ha ,ha thats what you get grim.. You were not honest to your fans, you never mention her and you just shocked your fans with that old lady of yours. What is she 40 years old she looks a lot older than you. I regret voting for you I wish I voted for prince he is my idol now. He is more fan and real person.

      • jaydee

        So you’re aggrivated that you didn’t know Michael Grimm had a girlfriend? Get over it! All of his most ardent fans knew that she was his long-term best friend in the world. She has stayed by his side for these past lean years. She is perhaps even more established in her career than Michael has been until now – she’s beautiful and extremely talented. His true fans couldn’t be happier for Michael and Lucie.

    • sally

      Jackie has a long time to go. She just put out a CD and she has been booked into a large venu as well as the tour for AGT. Michael has been trying a long time. They both got exposure and both will do fine. He won because there are more soul fans than opera.

    • jaydee

      Michael Grimm’s shows in Nevada, California and Miss. (not AGT performances) are standing room only since July, including Friday night, where his audience seemed to far out-number Martina McBride’s audience last night at the same venue. In fact, the hotels were all sold-out Friday night, even into the next county, whereas last night, there were many rooms vacant within just a couple miles. No disrespect, but it’s probably fair to say that the AGT audience has put its money where their votes were – even the VIP section at $100 per ticket was standing room only (800 seats in that section) The $60 meet & greet tickets sold out in only a few minutes when they began the selling. His voters do exist and they are everywhere and are showing up by the thousands whenever he’s performing.

  • Rachel

    R u serious! The fraternity brothers of Defying Gravity have way more talent than he does. I wouldn’t pay money in Vegas to see him.

    • mommyof4girls

      It’s Fighting Gravity.

    • dex

      People are paying to see an agt show with him as the final act. They’re not paying just to see him anyway.

  • Katrin

    Good for him…and no, he looks like Luke Perry, from the movie 8 seconds.

  • S

    I’m glad he won as he was a favorite. I really like the other acts, though. I would pay to see the college boys (Defying Gravity) but I am not interested in opera, although that girl was amazing.

    • Mickey

      It’s Fighting Gravity although Defying Gravity sounds much better

      • Chris

        It was Defying Gravity in the first episodes..then they changed their name

  • kirk whiteside

    I am so proud that Michael won, I have been rooting for him from the start. He is so laid back and really takes his music seriosly

    • marierose

      He should be serious because he wants to win, he wanted it so bad to give his ugly gf a better life.

  • Rafael

    Respect the man for his talent, he deserves it all…

  • Chip Crowl

    The obvious talent was Jackie but America said she will get her’s so they voted for the guys with the sad grandparents story. He has very limited talent…

    • Jason

      No, he had a greater control of his voice and his PITCH than Jackie, who is an amazing raw talent that needs to continue to be shaped (and also practiced with a tuner). Whether you dig his genre or not, Michael’s performance of it was flawless where as Jackie may have been amazing by virtue of her age and talent, but was not near flawless. Michael had the stronger musical performance and commands what he does better. It’s not Jackie’s fault; she’s 10!

      • annamaria gastaldello

        love his voice. i think that he is very talented, Unfortunately by next year we will not remember his name.
        But congratulations just the same.

    • marierose

      Actually he was not sad for his grandparents he want to win to give his old lady a better life not his grandparents. Get real

  • carol

    he is very deserving. he is real. no tricks. he is a grown man–not a child, who has many other things to try besides opera music and more dues to pay.

  • margaret brown

    I think he deserved to win. He is very talented and I would pay to see him in Vegas. Jackie has a great voice but who wants to listen to opera for two hours or see someone like poppycock who is not that talented. I also liked defying gravity.

    • marierose

      Before I thought he deserve to win but after surprising me with her ugly gf I lost my appetite to see more of him. He has no taste in women. He said when he was having duet with Jewel, he feels like vomiting when Jewel looked at him and said why does she looked at me like that. Come on are you still in the restaurant you are acting infront of the whole world and Jewel is a superstar and you are nothing. I feel sorry for her singing with you.

  • robert

    JE is a midget, look at her hands and legs, she is not 10, she also sings too fast for Opera

    • michael

      Idiot.

    • joe

      I enjoyed the little girl singing but for you to say that she is a midget makes you a urine sample

      • marierose

        she is a midget.

    • Paul

      Your an IDIOT for making comments like that….you obviously have no clue and little class.

    • Anton4177

      Robert:

      You’re a midget – intellectually, that is…

    • Jim

      Very funny comment.

    • huh?

      “she sings too fast for opera?” – what the H*ll does that mean, I’m afraid to ask…

    • @robert

      and you’re a MENTAL MIDGET

    • marierose

      you are right, she is not 10 years old she is 25 years old, she looks 10 because she is a dwarf, listen how she talks and responds to questions ask and how she responded I couldn’t respond like that when I was 20 I can’t even read a book yet but she talks like a 40 year old lady.

  • Sky11

    I think this is another Voters miscount … we need to call over to florida and make sure all there votes are in this time …

    • Jim

      Another Gore

  • Dennis

    As soon as Michael finished his performance on the finals show, I turned to my wife and said “There’s your winner.” She strongly disagreed, saying Jackie had it in the bag. Turns out I was right. For those who don’t think Michael is a real singing talent, wait ’till the tour and his recorded album is released. He’s the genuine article.

    • Jim

      My wife and I agree with you….Michael’s really good.

    • marierose

      That s your opinion not mine. I lost my desire to listen to him after he lied about him having a gf and just surprised his fans why not be truthful theeres nothing wrong with it except that she is ugly.

  • Carol

    I wish him well…but I think Prince Poppycock should have won.

  • Chip Crowl

    Carol be real..he has been a so-so singer for many years, in many towns. At 30 he should have made it. Jackie is a child with a very special talent. It has been all over utube for some time. And opera pays very well… His last name says it all!

    • Jenn

      So you’re saying that because he’s the “old age” of 30 and he hadn’t made it, he doesn’t deserve to? That’s pretty sad. Jackie is a child who should stay a child until she’s not one any longer. I say let her live life a little.

    • Black Widow

      I agree with Jenn. I knew he would win because he truly is talented. Jackie, because she was good, came in second, so there is an audience for her. But she is young and has many years to develop her talent and grow. Think about this, since Jackie has been all over utube for some time, why didn’t somebody sign her before she debuted on AGT? Probably because there are not a lot of places in the Opera world for a child her age.

    • Ludea

      Well, Jackie couldn’t hold up with Sarah Brightman. Her true young inexperience (all of 2 years) showed us she has a long way to go. She’s 10 and has many more years to develop her skills. Anyway the show’s name is America’s Got Talent, not America’s Got Opera. What ever happened to that overweight opera singer that won season 3? Neil something. Opera is not America’s music.

      • to Ludnik

        Are you deaf or just stupid? First of all, Jackie sang way better than SB. Secondly, you’re comparing someone who is now past her prime to someone who will not reach her vocal prime for maybe another 15 years. Keep your stupidity to yourself.

    • Jethro

      He is only 30 YOA, wow, I thought he was more in his mid-40s, so I guess drugs and alcohol can cause aging!

      • ng

        You need to have your eyes checked. MG looks younger than his age. This whole contest has worn him out. If you meet him in person, he is one of the guys who have baby-faced look. And he has NEVER used drugs. Don’t insult the man just b/c your favorite did not win. Idiot!

      • jaydee

        Jethro, that’s a very immature comment you made, just take your toys and go home.

    • @chippy

      Opera pays very well? Really? Maybe I should apply to become one.
      How much would I make? Is it by the hour or by the notes sung?

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