'America's Got Talent' Crowns Olate Dogs Over Cotter And Close
The Olate Dogs, a dog-trick animal act orchestrated by father-son trainers Richard and Nicholas Olate, won first place on NBC's America’s Got Talent season seven finale, which aired Thursday night. First prize for the show was $1 million and the opportunity to be featured on America's Got Talent's Las Vegas show.
The Olate Dogs were the first animal act to appear on the show, and now they are the first to win it. For their crowning achievement, the animals executed a series of tricks, back-flips and hops to the tunes of a swing band.
Before the father-son duo and their gymnastic dogs even won top prize, they were just grateful to have been on America's Got Talent in the first place. “This show has been incredible.” Nicholas, 19, told AGT host Nick Cannon after their final performance. “My dad’s journey has just been amazing and for him to get this far and for me to be able to represent him like this is, it’s like a dream come true, I can’t even believe it.”
In a touching feature, Richard, 55, who immigrated to the U.S. from South America, explained what his time on the show has meant to him.
"Twenty-four years ago, when I came here I had, I think, two dollars in my pocket. Now, we're in the finale. And it's so big for me. I mean, it's beautiful. This is my country now. This country has given me everything."
A number of current stars came by to perform on the finale and were joined by the final six contestants in varying capacities: Flo Rida belted out his new single, “I Cry,” while David Garibaldi painted a portrait of the pop star; contestant William Close played his earth harp alongside OneRepublic; Frankie J was accompanied by youth dance troupe the Untouchables; and Tom Cotter delivered a comedy bit with Joan Rivers. There were also performances by Justin Bieber (featuring Big Sean), Ne-Yo and Green Day.
Ultimately, Cotter and Close rounded out the top three, finishing second and third, respectively, while Garibaldi came in fourth, followed by sand artist Castillo in fifth and the Untouchables in sixth place.
The season seven finale also marked the end of Sharon Osbourne’s tenure as judge, leaving behind radio personality Howard Stern and actor/television host Howie Mandel, with one slot now open. Auditions for season eight will begin in the fall. –Hal Sundt
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