Who called it? Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., above, the dreadlocked, car-washing crooner who channeled the likes of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin like a sworn member of the Rat Pack, took the top prize in last night's "America's Got Talent" finale. And it was well-deserved. I'd rather see him perform in Vegas than another headliner like Celine Dion (yawn).
And what really makes this an all-around, feel-good victory is that the guy seems genuinely nice. He took the youngest performers under his wing during the season-long competition, and he befriended everyone in the contest. The kids, he said, call him "Uncle Doonie" (though it's not clear to me where "Doonie" came from).
The Logan, W.Va., native who works at a car dealership will be changing careers soon: He'll be headlining at Caesars Palace Las Vegas in October, and in an odd development, the other three finalists will be appearing with him. No explanation was offered last night for the quadruple-billing.
"Thank you so much for just believing in me," Landau said, choking back tears after his name was announced. "It's been a long, hard journey ... and it's finally paying off."
After Lys Agnes blew it in the semifinals, Landau (we're on a first-name basis) became the obvious choice, though I'd certainly lay down money to see Team iLuminate and Silhouettes. I hope they get a gig on or off Broadway after their Vegas appearances. I'll be first in line.
Poplyfe is talented and likable, but after trashing Queen in the finals, there wasn't a chance they'd be chosen. Still, I think we'll be hearing more from those kids, too.