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America’s Got Talent 2018 winner won’t actually get $1 million

After nearly four months of America’s Got Talent auditions, Judge Cuts, quarter-finals and semi-finals, ten acts will perform on September 18 in the season 13 finals for a chance to win the famous $1 million dollar prize and a headlining show in Las Vegas.

Acts like singer Courtney Hadwin, card magician Shin Lim and singer Michael Ketterer will battle each other for the grand prize. However, the winner — who will be announced during Wednesday’s results show — will not become an overnight millionaire.

Despite NBC describing the America’s Got Talent prize as ‘one million dollars and a headlining show in Las Vegas’, the reality is slightly more complicated, as the case of season 11 winner Grace VanderWaal illustrates.

America’s Got Talent season 13 winner won’t become an overnight millionaire on Wednesday

VanderWaal was just 12 years old when she won the $1 million prize on America’s Got Talent season 11, winning over the judges with her ukelele skills and original songs. 

However, as Forbes pointed out at the time, the prize did not make VanderWaal an instant millionaire.

In fact, the outlet said that VandwerWaal could be eligible for retirement before she receives the $1 million in full.

That is because America’s Got Talent pays out the $1 million as a 40-year-long annuity, meaning that the winner gets an annual sum of $25,000 before tax for 40 years.

An alternative to the 40-year annuity is the lump sum option, meaning that the AGT winner collects the winnings in one go. However, even then, Forbes says, that sum won’t be anywhere close to the $1 million figure.

The outlet estimates that the lump sum figure is likely to be closer to the $300,000 pre-tax range, meaning that the winner will probably take home between $150,000-$200,000.

The Las Vegas show, however, won’t take 40 years. Both VanderWaal and season 12 winner, Dacri Lynne Farmer, did indeed headline Las Vegas shows at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino several weeks after being crowned winners.

And although the $1 million prize is not as straightforward as it sounds, both acts have gone on to have successful musical careers.

VanderWaal won the Teen Choice Award for Choice Next Big Thing in 2017 and received the Rising Star award at the 2017 Billboard Women in Music ceremony. 

She then went on to score the lead role in Disney’s new film Stargirl, an original feature that will go through the corporation’s new streaming platform.

Meanwhile, ventriloquist Farmer has embarked on a national tour, adding more dates due to popular demand.

This year’s acts gunning for the $1 million prize and Vegas show include English singer Courtney Hadwin, Dutch musician Glennis Grace card magician Shin Lim, singer Michael Ketterer and stand-up comedian Samuel J Comroe.


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