Michael Grimm was a singer and guitarist act from Season 5 of America's Got Talent. He won the competition, winning one million dollars and the headlining of a show in Las Vegas as well as the America's Got Talent tour. Michael returned for AGT: The Champions 2 where he was eliminated in the Preliminaries in the Judges' Choice.
Michael Grimm was raised in the swamplands of Hancock County, Mississippi by his loving grandparents. “They made us go to church a lot,” he says of his grandparents, who raised Grimm and his sister after their parents’ divorce. That’s when he turned to music, as a five-year old. His grandmother played piano in a Baptist church built by her father, who was a preacher. Outside of church however, his grandparents were true Country Music fans. As a 12-year-old, Michael Grimm was escorted by his Grandma to the local southern Mississippi bars where he would perform the songs of George Jones, Travis Tritt and other Country artists. “She’d sit in the bars with her glass of soda and watch over me because she loved to listen to me sing, and she thought that was the way to get my career started,” Grimm says. Blending the two genres, Grimm was writing music and playing guitar as a 15-year-old and signing a recording contract at 16. One album was cut. “Most of the songs would be considered Positive Country Christian, because I came from that background,” Grimm says. Still his Nashville career didn’t take off, Christian Country Music just wasn’t that big then.
The door had closed and Grimm returned home only to have his high school sweetheart leave him. Grimm spent the next two years in Mississippi, heartbroken and drinking in bars. “I learned what heartache was for the first time in my life, and that’s when I got turned on to Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin.” Says Grimm “After I heard them, I never went back to Country. I went through a transition and became a soul singer, which happened so naturally I really didn’t see it coming.” In the years since, Grimm’s tastes have evolved from Country music to Southern Soul – while moving from the swamps of Mississippi to the deserts of Las Vegas, where he is fortunate enough to keep a busy schedule playing in clubs from one end of the valley to the other.
Grimm emerged from extremely humble beginnings to become a singing, songwriting and guitar-playing triple-threat of talent. Fans appreciate that he reached into his heart and sang with pure passion and soul. Over the years Grimm has opened and toured for the likes of BB King, The Doobie Brothers, the rock group Heart and most recently Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers.
After several years of hard work on his sound, Grimm arrives now with a huge catalog of meticulously crafted songs and a mature, soulful delivery unmatched by anyone on the market today. Michael Grimm is determined to keep real music alive while continuously trying to realize his dream to make it and to give back to his Grandparents for all they have given him. 1
In 2009, Michael Grimm auditioned for Season 4 of America's Got Talent, but he did not pass through the opening producers' auditions. He decided to give the show another try in Season 5.
Michael Grimm's audition in Episode 501 consisted of singing "You Don't Know Me" while playing the guitar. Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and Howie Mandel all voted "Yes," sending Michael to the Vegas Round.
Michael Grimm was one of the Judges' Favorites in the Vegas Round. He was sorted into the "Male Singers" category. His performance in Episode 511 consisted of singing "Try A Little Tenderness" while playing the guitar. Unfortunately, his performance was over 90 seconds long, and Piers noted he could be disqualified. Nevertheless, his audition was strong enough for the judges to send him to the Quarterfinals along with Taylor Mathews.
Michael Grimm's Quarterfinals performance in Episode 515 consisted of singing "Tired of Being Alone" while playing the guitar. He received enough votes to be sent to the Semifinals in Episode 516 instead of The Strong Man and Lil Chris.
Michael Grimm's Semifinals performance in Episode 525 consisted of singing "You Can Leave Your Hat On" while playing the guitar. He received enough votes to be sent to the Finals in Episode 526 along with Prince Poppycock and Taylor Mathews.
Michael Grimm's Top 10 Finals performance in Episode 529 consisted of singing "Let's Stay Together", without playing the guitar for the first time in the competition. He received enough votes to be sent to the Final 4 in Episode 530 instead of Taylor Mathews.
For the finale in Episode 532, Michael Grimm performed "Me and Bobby McGee" in a duet with Jewel. Michael was revealed to have finished in first place in the competition that same night, over Jackie Evancho, Fighting Gravity, and Prince Poppycock, winning one million dollars and a headline show in Las Vegas.
After the Show
Michael proposed to his longtime girlfriend during an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show, just days after being crowned champion of America’s Got Talent. Michael pledged much of the $1 million prize money to provide for his grandparents who lost their home on Mississippi’s gulf coast to Hurricane Katrina. 2
On the performance episode of the Season 6 Top 10 show on September 6, 2011, Michael Grimm sang "Stay With Me" as a special guest.
The Champions 2 Preliminary
Michael Grimm's Preliminary performance in Episode TC203 consisted of singing Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind" while playing the guitar. Howie Mandel, Alesha Dixon and Heidi Klum gave him standing ovations. Michael finished in 3rd, 4th or 5th place in the Superfan Vote. In the Judges' Choice, he did not receive a vote from any of the judges, eliminating him from the competition along with Quick Style instead of Alexa Lauenburger.
- Michael is the only former AGT winner to compete on The Champions 2.
- He is also the earliest season AGT act to compete, unless you include Christian Stoinev who originally auditioned 3 seasons before Michael, albeit only making it to Vegas Round.