The eighth season finale of “America’s Got Talent” took place at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on Sept. 18, 2013. Illusionist dancer Kenichi Ebina was named the winner. He gets the grand prize of $1 million and a headlining show in Las Vegas.
Guest entertainers in the season finale included Luke Bryan, Icona Pop, Dierks Bentley, Josh Groban, Il Divo, Heather Headley, Gavin DeGraw, James Lipton and Earth, Wind & Fire. Also there were the season’s top six finalists: Ebina, comedian Taylor Williamson, singer Jimmy Rose, magician Collins Key, operatic trio Forte and singer Cami Bradley.
The "America's Got Talent" judges (Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel) and host (Nick Cannon) were among those who walked the red carpet backstage after the show. Here is what Bryan said when I caught up him for a brief interview on the red carpet.
"America's Got Talent" contestants go through nerve-wracking auditions. What was the most nerve-wracking audition that you've ever had?
Oh, gosh! Certainly going up to Capitol Records when I tried to get my record deal, and singing in front of the president of the label. That stuff gets pretty nerve-wracking when you put all your dreams on the line, and you're in front of a very powerful person in the music business.
You co-hosted the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards with Blake Shelton. Whose idea was it to put you and Blake together? Was it the idea of your managers, agents or the awards show?
It was the idea of the awards show. I think it was a great pairing. We have a blast together. We're very good friends. Our chemistry on stage is just real and natural. It's how we act off-camera, so it's fun to be up there with him.
I know you've been busy touring, but what do you think your next album is going to sound like? You've had an amazing, breakthrough year, so will those experiences have a big influence on the songs that you choose for your next album?
My new album just came out, so we're a little ways from my next album. But we'll do a spring break album this spring [in 2014]. We do one every year. I kind of let the fans dictate where I'm going in my career. The sky's the limit on all that.
What do you think about Kenichi Ebina? Did you watch any of "America's Got Talent" this year?
I didn't follow the series, but I educated myself on the series last night. He's very talented and very original in his approach at dance and making it a visual. I think he's very creative in all that. Based on the reaction backstage, I think he was everybody's favorite back here.
For more info: "America's Got Talent" website