America’s Got Talent is kind of a big deal. The “Got Talent” franchise holds the Guinness World Records title as the Most Successful Reality Television Format, with more than 70 local versions produced across Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. For the eighth consecutive year, the American version of the show has reached more than 60 million total viewers across linear and digital platforms and chances are good that most of them were watching tonight when the NBC show crowned its next winner for 2021.
The ten remaining acts in the competition who went head to head for a final time last night included Northwell Nurse Choir, Lea Kyle, Brooke Simpson, Dustin Tavella, Aidan Bryant, Victory Brinker, Josh Blue, Jimmie Herrod, Gina Brillon and the World Taekwondo Demo Team. All of them delivering great performances had to endure a long, drawn out process toward elimination during tonight’s finale.
The extra-stuffed episode featured a few mashups of performers along with some special guests including Idina Menzel, Pentatonix, Bishop Briggs, George Lopez, Rico Rodriguez, AGT season nine winner Mat Franco and Olympic silver medal gymnasts Jordan Chiles and MyKayla Skinner. Some of the extra fluff was worth watching like Sofia Vergara’s revenge prank on Simon Cowell others like Gina Brillon’s hairdressing stunt with George Lopez and the overly long bit featuring Josh Blue’s search for guidance from fellow comedians.
Then cutting down the 10 contestants down to one was grueling for everyone involved. The final two standing were acrobatic Aidan Bryant and meaningful magician Dustin Tavella. And in the end, it was Travella who won season 16 of the show.
Tavella won America’s hearts and votes through magic with his inspirational performances tapping into stories from his personal life including his wedding day and his sons’ adoptions. His final emotionally charged act showcased his art of storytelling with the spirit of philanthropy, using magic to spread his message of the power of giving.
Born and raised in Pottsdown, Penn., Tavella grew up going to magic shows with his grandparents in Atlantic City and fell in love with the art of connecting and entertaining people through magic. With a personal motto of always living life with purpose, Tavella has worked with numerous humanitarian organizations aiding the homeless, mentoring in youth programs and helping women in crisis. He is a magician who aims to inspire audiences by using magic to connect with people from all different walks of life. He now resides in Virginia Beach, Va., with his wife, Kari, and their adopted sons, Xander and Sylas.
Main image: Pictured: (l-r) Northwell Nurse Choir, Lea Kyle, Brooke Simpson, Dustin Tavella, Aidan Bryant, Terry Crews, Victory Brinker, Josh Blue, Jimmie Herrod, Gina Brillon, World Taekwondo Demo Team (Trae Patton/NBC)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.