With two British judges, every good act on America's Got Talent was bound to be "brilliant" at some point.
But only one could win $1 million and a headlining show in Las Vegas, and that act was revealed on Wednesday's season finale.
After thousands of people/groups/animals/weirdos, etc. auditioned and were eliminated week after week, it came down to Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., Team iLuminate, Silhouettes and POPLYFE, all of whose fates were in the voters' hands following last night's performance finale.
Murphy can be glad he did it his way.
The old-school crooner from West Virginia was named America's Favorite New Act tonight—and with the title comes the glory and the money!
The married father was immediately overcome with emotion as members of his family wildly hugged each other out in the audience. Even the cutie-patooties of Silhouettes, who came in second, mobbed the 36-year-old singer for a big group hug.
"Thank you so much for supporting me and believing in me, and helping me believe in myself on national television, in front of the whole world," Murphy said in disbelief.
"This is so important to us, man," the former car washer told host Nick Cannon, barely audible over the applause. "This has been a long, hard journey. I been busting my butt out here doing this for so long, ever since I was a kid, and it's finally paying off."
But with a win for one comes short shrift for the others: Team iLuminate, POPLYFE and Silihouettes.
We weren't the only ones who were shocked when Team iLuminate ended up only in third place, either. Have you ever seen Sharon Osbourne's mouth open that wide?!
As always, before the dream-crushing commenced, the finalists got to duet with luminaries like LeAnn Rimes, who performed "Give" while Silhouettes worked their magic behind a screen; Stevie Wonder, who sang "Higher Ground" with POPLYFE; Cobra Starship, who provided the music while iLuminate lit up the stage; and Patti LaBelle, who belted "You're All I Need to Get By" with Murphy.
"I'm going to start crying, I have to go!" Rimes exclaimed upon her first meeting with the ridiculously cute kids who make up the majority of the Denver-based Silhouettes.
The night also featred tunes from Def Leppard, One Republic, Tony Bennett and Queen Latifah, and—last but not least—last year's runner-up, pint-size opera phenom Jackie Evancho.
But even though 11-year-old Jackie would agree that winning isn't everything, we bet Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. is feeling just fine in first place.
(Originally published Sept. 14, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. PT)