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August 3, 2015

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Local lounge singer Michael Grimm wins big on ‘America’s Got Talent’

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Bobby Gladd/BGladd.com

Michael Grimm.

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Michael Grimm performs during Ethel M Chocolate's 16th Annual Holiday Cactus Lighting last year.

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Michael Grimm.

When Michael Grimm performs on the Las Vegas Strip thanks to his recent win on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” he won’t be far from his old stomping grounds.

In 2005, the guitar-toting singer-songwriter began performing as part of a small group at Hank’s Fine Steaks and Martinis at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson. Soon after, he became a regular performer as part of a 12-piece band at Ovation Lounge at the resort.

“We could not be more happy for Michael,” Judy Alberti, vice president of entertainment for Stations Casino, said in an e-mail. “Although we can’t take credit for his unbelievable talent, we are very proud to have been some of the very first to recognize that talent.”

Alberti said that in 2008, “America’s Got Talent” producers had asked Station’s entertainment department to submit recommendations for contestants. Grimm was one of them, but he didn’t make it through to perform on the show.

He also was turned down after auditioning for “American Idol” on Fox.

In March 2010, “America’s Got Talent” again held auditions at Palace Station in the Louie Anderson Theater. This time, Alberti said, Grimm was chosen, and went on to win the grand prize: $1 million and headlining a show on the Las Vegas Strip.

Grimm has been performing in the Las Vegas Valley since 2000 at various lounges, clubs and steakhouses. In addition to his most recent standing gig at Green Valley Ranch, he performed numerous times at the Club at the Cannery Casino & Hotel, where he recorded a live album in 2008.

Grimm, 30, was raised by his grandparents in Mississippi after his parents got a divorce. Grimm said he would use his winnings to help buy a new home for his grandparents, who lost nearly everything they owned in Hurricane Katrina.

Grimm beat out Jackie Evancho, a 10-year-old opera singer, on Wednesday’s show.

“I really thought Jackie had it in the bag,” a still-in-shock Grimm told People magazine after winning. “I was preparing my speech to leave. I couldn’t believe I heard my name. I was trying to make sure that what I thought was going on was going on, you know?

“This is definitely an out-of-body experience. This whole journey has been, but especially now.”

Piers Morgan, a judge on "America’s Got Talent," said he had high hopes for Grimm’s future.

“He’ll have a huge career,” Morgan said. “He’s like a young Van Morrison. He’s sincere. He’s talented, and he got better with every round. He gave the performance of his life for the win. Well deserved.”

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