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‘AGT’ legend, ventriloquist Terry Fator returns to show for special performance

It’s been 15 years since ventriloquist Terry Fator won ‘America’s Got Talent’

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Terry Fator competes on “AGT: All-Stars.”

Terry Fator competes on “AGT: All-Stars.”

Trae Patton, NBC

It’s been 15 years since ventriloquist Terry Fator won “America’s Got Talent.” After winning Season 2 at the age of 42, Fator went on to sign a five-year, $100 million contract in Las Vegas, Billboard reported. At the time, it was one of the largest deals ever recorded in Vegas history, per the entertainment site Gold Derby.

As one of the most successful contestants in the entire “AGT” franchise, Fator’s influence has been seen in rising generations of ventriloquism — especially ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer, who was 12 when she won “AGT” in 2017.

So when “AGT: All Stars” — a new spinoff that features 60 former champions, finalists and fan favorites competing against each other — was in the works, “AGT” creator Simon Cowell believed it would be incomplete without Fator.

“I’m going to let in on a little secret,” Cowell told Fator during the premiere episode of “AGT: All-Stars” on Jan. 2. “When we decided to make ‘All-Stars,’ we had one condition: We’re only going to do it if you competed. Seriously! Because if you’re going to say we’ve got the ‘best of the best,’ then you’ve got to get the best of the best.”


Terry Fator returns to ‘AGT’

Fator didn’t hold back in his return to “AGT.”

The legendary ventriloquist’s act started out with his puppet, Winston the Turtle, singing “The Prayer” in Italian. Partway through the song, Winston stopped performing and told the audience he had long wanted to share the stage with Elton John.

“Well, Winston, ‘America’s Got Talent’ is where prayers are answered,” Fator said, proceeding to bring out an Elton John puppet — complete with his own piano. The two puppets then performed “Rocket Man” together, taking turns to deliver the lines in their own unique styles.

The act earned a standing ovation from the “AGT: All-Stars” judges and fans in the audience.

“It is not a fluke that you won ‘AGT,’” judge Howie Mandel said after Fator’s performance. “The fact that you decided to come here and re-compete on ‘AGT: All-Stars’ is a dream come true for me, everybody watching at home, everybody in this room. Thank you so much, Terry.”

Despite the high praise, Fator did not get voted through to the finale. Instead, the Light Balance Kids, a dance group from Ukraine, and the Bello Sisters, an acrobatic trio from Italy, were voted through during Fator’s episode, the Deseret News reported.

But Fator doesn’t have any regrets about returning to the show.

“I went on the show to support my ‘AGT’ family. From the beginning I never considered it a competition; for me, it was always a showcase of the world’s best talent,” Fator told People magazine. “When Simon told me that the show would not have happened if I have said no, it made me glad that all these acts were able to be seen across the globe because I was part of the show. Because I won 15 years ago, I’m established in Las Vegas and on tour; I just wanted to pay it forward so that whoever wins will be able to parlay it into great success.”