Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. won’t be washing cars for a living anymore.
The 37-year-old soulful crooner beat the competition on the star-studded season six finale of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” Wednesday. He takes home the show’s $1 million prize and a headlining gig on the Las Vegas strip.
“It has been a long, hard journey,” Murphy said above the roar of the audience after thanking his fans.
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The father of four was the only solo-performer left in the competition, voted winner ahead of innovative dance troupes Silhouettes and Team iLuminate.
Teen rock and soul group PopLyfe came in fourth place after voters delivered their verdict following a final performance round on Tuesday.
The finalists learned their fate at the end of a 2-hour finale featuring duets and performances by Def Leopard, Queen Latifah, Tony Bennett, Jackie Evancho, Cobra Starship and Patti LaBelle.
Stevie Wonder joined PopLyfe to perform his hit “Higher Ground.”
“We performed with our idol,” PopLyfe singer Kehlani Parrish said later. “We just lived our dream.”
In the end, it came down to Murphy and Silhouettes, a Colorado-based troupe whose members range from ages 3 to 19.
Murphy, a West Virginia native, had belted out Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” on Tuesday. Afterward judge Sharon Osbourne said the performance gave her “goose bumps,” while Piers Morgan called it a “million dollar performance.”
Judge Howie Mandel had predicted Tuesday night that Team iLuminate also deserved to win. But he said America would likely not deliver the necessary votes because the troupe lacked one personality to rally around.
Jerry Springer said on Wednesday’s finale that all the finalists, as well as last year’s “America’s Got Talent” winner Michael Grimm, would perform during a 3-night concert at Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas beginning on Oct. 28.