The stage is an ocean, and playing the role of cork is Michael Grimm.
That’s how it sounds when you talk to the Las Vegas singer-songwriter who stunned TV viewers across the country (and many of his contemporaries here in Las Vegas) when he won the championship of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” in September 2010.
It wasn’t as if Grimm fluked his way to the title — those who saw him perform at such Vegas haunts as Ovation and Hank’s Fine Steaks & Martinis at Green Valley Ranch knew him as a highly engaging and gifted singer, musician and songwriter.
It’s just that “AGT,” regardless of the show title, is not famous for rewarding pure talent. It helps to present a highly unique act, such as ventriloquism — Terry Fator vaulted to Strip stardom after winning his “AGT” title in 2007. Or, woo the audience with a uniquely inspiring biography — the modestly talented Kevin Skinner won his championship largely because viewers were taken with his story as a chicken catcher in a small town in Kentucky.
Though he’d promised to use some of his $1 million in prize money to build his grandparents a new home in his original hometown of Wavefield, Miss. (a project that is just about finished, the artist is relieved to report), Grimm took the title largely because he is danged good. The person he beat in the series finale, Jackie Evancho, is one of the great young vocalists in the world and has drawn the attention of star-maker David Foster. Ever since winning the title, Grimm said, “Every bit of this has been unexpected. I just came in, doing my own thing, and I won. … It has been an incredible year, so much has happened that all I can say is I have been blessed.”
Grimm makes his appearance at a large-scale Vegas venue Saturday night when he opens for Stevie Nicks at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel. Grimm has been opening for Nicks on her current U.S. tour, supporting his latest Epic Records release with the characteristically straightforward title “Michael Grimm.” The record deal was part of Grimm’s prize for winning “AGT,” but he’d been introduced to Nicks years before he even auditioned for the show.