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How much money does the America’s Got Talent winner really get?

America's Got Talent winner
America’s Got Talent winner. Pic credit: NBC

The prize money for the reality competition shows is often revealed to viewers when the show starts, and it sounds like the winners will leave the show as very rich people.

However, that isn’t actually the reality of it in most cases.

America’s Got Talent lets fans know that the show’s winner will walk out with a cool $1 million in prize money and a Las Vegas residency.

However, there is small print, and in many cases, the winners don’t get anywhere near $1 million.

Here is how much America’s Got Talent winners really get.

How much do America’s Got Talent winners win?

The prize money for America’s Got Talent winners is really $1 million, but they don’t get the money when they win. In some cases, they don’t get the full million at all.

Much the same as a state lottery winning, the prize is paid out over the course of years.

In this case, the winner of America’s Got Talent will receive two options when they win the show. They will get the $1 million in payments over 40 years as a financial annuity. This means that the winner will get $25,000 a year for 40 years.

However, there is a way to get the money all at once, but then the winner won’t get $1 million. Instead, they will get what is known as the “present cash value of such annuity.”

This means, that if they want more than just the $25,000 a year for the next 40 years, they can opt to only take $300,000 in one lump sum.

This is not a surprise for the competitors either, as the show tells them the payment structure before they sign on to compete.

AGT winners taking less than the grand prize

Back in Season 5, Michael Grimm took this option and only got $200,000. However, he took the smaller amount to help rebuild his parents’ home, which they lost in Hurricane Katrina. Season 15 champion Brandon Leake also took the lump sum to pay off his student loans.

Plus, this total prize is taxed. The $25,000 a year is taxed and the lump sum is taxed, so the winners get much less than $1 million no matter how they decide to take it.

There is also the fact that the Las Vegas residency is not always as good as it sounds. Winner Grace Vanderwaal got a three-day residency and then it was over with. Other winners have been performing in Vegas for years since they won the show, making much more than the prize from the show.

America’s Got Talent premieres Tuesday, May 31, at 8/7c on NBC.

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