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'America's Got Talent' winners don't take it all! Victorious contestants get $1M prize money in batches

'America's Got Talent' winners do not receive the entire million since the award is paid out over a period of 40 years
A still from 'America's Got Talent: All-Stars' 2023 trailer (YouTube/Popcorn)
A still from 'America's Got Talent: All-Stars' 2023 trailer (YouTube/Popcorn)

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA: The prize money for reality competition programs is frequently announced to viewers before the show begins and it appears that the winners will depart the show as very wealthy people. Nevertheless, in the majority of situations, this is not the case.

The winner of 'America's Got Talent' and its sister shows will walk away with a cool $1 million in prize money. They not only win this but they also get the chance to headline a residency at the legendary Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nonetheless, there is the fine print and in many cases, the winners do not get anything close to $1 million. Here's how much the 'America's Got Talent' winners truly make.


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How much do winners of 'America's Got Talent' take home?

The actual prize money for 'America's Got Talent' winners is $1 million, although, they do not get it when they win. In other circumstances, they do not receive the entire million. The award is paid out over a period of years, much like a state lottery jackpot. In this situation, the winner of 'America's Got Talent' will have two choices after the program. They will get the $1 million in installments over the course of 40 years as a financial annuity. This implies that the winner will receive $25,000 every year for the next 40 years.

There is a method to obtain the money all at once, but the winner will not receive $1 million. Rather, they will get the "present cash value of such annuity." This implies that if they choose to take more than $25,000 every year for the following 40 years, they can take $300,000 in one single amount. This comes as no surprise to the contestants, as the program informs them of the payment system before they agree to compete.

Michael Grimm chose this option in Season 5 and received only $200,000. He did, however, take the lower sum to assist repair his parents' home, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Brandon Leake, the Season 15 champion, likewise received the lump amount to pay off his college loans. Furthermore, the overall award is taxed. The $25,000 per year is taxed, as is the lump payment, so the winners receive far less than $1 million regardless of how they choose to accept it.

Although 'AGT' has not said why the prize money is split in these two ways, it might be to suit the wide spectrum of contestants taking part. If the winner is young, they may want to receive a lump sum over four decades rather than everything at once. The same might be said for an 'AGT' winner who is older and prefers larger payouts to smaller ones. However, neither option is certain to cost $1 million.

Furthermore, the Las Vegas residency is not always as terrific as it appears. Grace VanderWaal won a three-day residence, and that was the end of it. Other winners have been performing in Vegas for years after winning the show, earning far more than the prize money. However, just because the program includes these restrictions does not mean that winners do not go on to achieve other kinds of accomplishments. Season 5 winner Jackie Evancho is pursuing a singing career, while Season 11 winner Grace recently released the film 'Hollywood Stargirl' on Disney+ in July.


'America's Got Talent: All-Stars' premieres on Monday, January 2, 2023, at 8 pm ET. Subsequent episodes will air on Monday evenings at the same time, with the season ending in an epic season finale on Monday, February 18, according to the schedule.