Reality Rocks - Archive

Does ‘AGT’ Winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. Have a Future in Music?

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

"America's Got Talent" judge Howie Mandel once called 2011 "the year of the dance"--but in the end, dance troupes Silohuettes and Team Iluminate failed to prevail, and yet another singer won "America's Got Talent." Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. became the fourth vocalist in a row to win on the show (and the fifth overall, out of all six seasons); however, the key difference this year is this latest "AGT" champ might actually stand a chance of headlining a successful revue in Las Vegas.

Landau, the car washer-turned-crooner with the golden voice and heart of gold, won the Season 6 "AGT" million-dollar prize Wednesday night--beating out teenage funk band PopLyfe (who'd seemed like frontrunners before making the career-suicidal mistake of covering Queen's not-at-all-prophetic "We Are The Champions" for their final performance), lightshow illusionists Team Ililuminate (their third-place showing was somewhat of a surprise), and human shadowpuppets Silohuettes. There are many reasons why Landau may have come out on top: his final stirring performance of Frank Sinatra's "My Way," his rising-from-ashes back story, the element of surprise of a cornrowed cutup singing with such old-school panache, the fact that voters are more likely to emotionally connect with a solo artist than with a more anonymous group.

Or maybe viewers finally realized that "AGT" is a search for a Vegas act.

See, while previous singing winners like Michael Grimm and Kevin Skinner certainly had talent, it was, frankly, hard to imagine such low-key, folksy guitar-strummers playing Sin City, a town whose stages are usually graced by the loungey likes of Tom Jones and Elton John. But Landau may have a shot there, with his gently modernized versions of Rat Pack classics.

Whether Landau will have a recording career, or a crossover pop career--well, that's a whole other story, considering that his Wednesday night finale performance with his idol, Patti LaBelle, was a major mess totally deserving of Piers Morgan's buzzing red X. I'd actually say PopLyfe have a better shot at pop stardom--albeit in a few years' time, and only if they stay the heck away from Queen covers and the band members never, ever sing backup again. And I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Silohuettes, and especially Team Iluminate, getting their own Vegas shows someday, either.

But for now, I'll let Landau have his moment. Congrats to him, and maybe I'll see him in Vegas.

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