America's Got Talent announced the Season 15 winner on Wednesday night's episode. The finalists were spoken-word poet Brandon Leake, singer Roberta Battaglia, aerialist Alan Silva, singer Cristina Rae, acrobats the Bello Sisters, dancing pair Bad Salsa, singer Archie Williams, singer Daneliya Tuleshova, singer Kenadi Dodds, and duo Broken Roots. After a season full of exciting and dramatic performances, the show crowned Leake, who previously earned the golden buzzer from Howie Mandel at the beginning of the season, as the winner.
This season was a rather unique one for AGT. Not only did the show have to navigate the challenges from the coronavirus pandemic, but the program was also without one of its judges as Simon Cowell experienced a back injury in August that forced him not to take part in filming. Unlike previous seasons, for the latter half of Season 15, there was no live audience to root on the performers. Additionally, the judges — Sofia Vergara, Mandel, and Heidi Klum — maintained a safe distance from one another on the panel to adhere to social distancing standards.
The votes are in!September 24, 2020
During the season, the show also had to implement some new methods in which performers could audition. Like many others around the world, AGT utilized the power of video chat to see what some of the acts had in store. For the traditional judges' cut episode, the four judges all traveled to a drive-in movie theater to watch the various acts on the big screen in a safe, socially-distanced fashion. "We have the four judges show up separately in cars that reflect each of their personalities," Jenny Groom, NBC's executive vice president of alternative programming, told USA Today about their non-traditional set-up. "They walk on to set, and it's this big, kind of drive-in movie screen. They walk to their (socially distanced) director chairs and watch the performers on a big screen and then speak to them, live from the places that they were, about their performances and whether they were moving forward. It ended up being really inspiring."
Even though they had to navigate these changes and had to deal with Cowell being out of commission, AGT still managed to pull out all of the stops every week. From guest performances from BTS to exciting Dunkin' save moments, Season 15 really had it all. And, of course, the finale ended in spectacular fashion with Leake earning the title of Season 15 champion.