Magician Dustin Tavella wins 'America's Got Talent' finale

By: News Desk      Published: 02:38 PM, 16 Sep, 2021
Magician Dustin Tavella wins 'America's Got Talent' finale
Dustin Tavella

Dustin Tavella had a magical moment on "America’s Got Talent." The magician was crowned the Season 16 winner during Wednesday’s live, two-hour season finale following "the closest vote ever," host Terry Crews revealed. Tavella becomes the third magician to take the crown, following Season 9 winner Mat Franco and Season 13 winner Shin Lim. 

"Thank you guys so much. This is absolutely amazing," Tavella said through tears as confetti sprayed all over the stage. 

The 35-year-old captured America’s heart with his signature style of magic that centered his two adoptive sons: "Before 'AGT,' I just never could've imagined my two worlds colliding – My passion for my magic and my story about my family."

Tavella beat nine finalists and walked away with a $1 million prize and headliner status for an "AGT" show in Las Vegas following "the most competitive final ever," Simon Cowell said. The field included five Golden Buzzer winners.

Aerialist Aidan Bryant finished in second place; comedian Josh Blue was third; singer Brooke Simpson finished fourth; and quick change artist Léa Kyle (Heidi Klum's Golden Buzzer) came in fifth. 

Earlier in the night, five acts were eliminated: Comedian Gina Brillon, singer Jimmie Herrod (Sofia Vergara's Golden Buzzer), World Taekwondo Demonstration Team (Terry Crews' Golden Buzzer), opera singer Victory Brinker (the show's first-ever group Golden Buzzer) and Northwell Nurse Choir (Howie Mandel's Golden Buzzer.)

The two-hour season finale felt like a concert, with more than a dozen mash-ups and duets featuring the top 10 contestants, star musical guests and past "AGT" competitors. 

Herrod kicked off the show by living out his Broadway dream alongside Tony Award-winning actress Idina Menzel on "Defying Gravity" from the musical "Wicked." Northwell Nurse Choir provided background vocals on the chill-inducing rendition. Menzel returned later to perform "Dream Girl" from Amazon's "Cinderella."

Kyle helped Heidi Klum pick out her finale outfit with a little quick change magic that earned her a Golden Buzzer: "I knew I could count on you," Klum said after Kyle made it work. 

Simpson teamed up with Bishop Briggs on her single "White Flag," which Simpson performed last night during her finale act. "You are such a superstar. You are incredible. I wish we were on tour together," Briggs told Simpson. 

Brillon performed a sketch about Hispanic Heritage Month with her comedic idol George Lopez and even cut his hair. "He’s the reason why I started stand-up comedy," Brillon revealed. Lopez said, "I’m very proud of you Gina."

Tavella joined Mat Franco for a magical act that featured lots of teddy bears and Rico Rodriguez, who played Vergara’s onscreen son in "Modern Family." She gave him a huge bear hug when she saw him. 

Blue sat down with Mandel and past "AGT" comedians for some hilariously irrelevant advice, including Preacher Lawson, Piff the Dragon, Taylor Williamson and Tom Cotter.

Brinker held her own with a cappella group Pentatonix during an angelic rendition of Andrea Bocelli and Céline Dion's "The Prayer."