Did Landau Eugene Murphy win America's Got Talent on his "inspirational story"?
So, after what feels like a lifetime of auditions shows, performances and eliminations, one man emerged the winner of America’s Got Talent Season 6 last night: Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. After performing a rousing version of Frank Sinatra’s My Way, the crooner went on to duet with Patti LaBelle on the final results show. He walks away with a $1,000,000 prize and a performing spot in Las Vegas’ Caesar’s Palace next month. And you’d have to be brain-dead not to expect an album of soulful covers within the year. After all, America’s Got Talent creator Simon Cowell is a huge fan of the Rat Pack.
The AGT final four were Landau, dance troupe Silhouettes, visual dance group Team iLuminate and the group POPLYFE. POPLYFE finished in fourth place, followed closely by Team iLuminate. A big criticism of both the dance acts was that people couldn’t envision an entire show based around their acts. It should be no surprise then that Silhouettes followed closely behind, making Landau Eugene Murphy the winner of Season 6.
However, as Therese Ordell, writing for the Houston Chronicle, points out, America loves a great story, and Landau’s story may have been the greater part of his appeal. The former car washer who strove for a better life through singing. Elsewhere, Karl de Vries points out that across the musical spectrum, Landau isn’t really that exciting:
Landau’s central selling point is the gimmick of a somewhat dopey carwasher magically transforming into a scene-stealing baritone singer, who confidently belts out classic standards such as “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head.”
He’s Cinderella with a microphone — but once you’ve seen him transform into a prince, what else does he have to offer that other such singers don’t? Is there really a shortage of Vegas lounge acts that sing Frankie, Dino, Sammy, etc.? I presume not.
Howie Mandel’s comments to Team iLuminate also implied that having a strong backstory was an important factor. He acknowledges that Landau’s story might be more relatable to the America’s Got Talent fans.
I think they (the viewers) vote on popularity and America will relate to one personality, so it might be easier for Landau who’s a singer rather than a group.
Of course, we’re not trying to rain on Landau’s win. You could argue that POPLYFE threw the competition at the final hurdle with terrible tuning issues (unacceptable in a final show) and that no-one really wants to watch acts like Silhouettes and Team iLuminate for a 90 minute show. However, we thought My Way was an overly safe bet for the finale, and a song that’s literally been played to death on talent competitions. Ultimately, does it come down to the fact – as one commenter said – that it was a weak finale and the guy with the best story took the prize?
We’d love to hear your thoughts, folks!