‘America’s Got Talent’: Country Newcomer Drake Milligan Earns Final Spot

by Suzanne Halliburton

America’s Got Talent is providing Drake Milligan, the 24-year-old Texan, an incredible, career-altering platform.

The budding country music star became the first act guaranteed a spot in next month’s finals. That’s all thanks to his Tuesday performance on America’s Got Talent. And we should probably say that Milligan no longer should be considered a budding star. Thanks to AGT, he’s had two original songs top the iTunes country charts since early June.

Meanwhile, saxophonist Avery Dixon received the second finals spot. Coincidentally, Dixon earned this season’s first Golden Buzzer when AGT premiered in June. Simon Cowell likened Dixon to country music superstar Carrie Underwood.

Milligan Promised America’s Got Talent That He’ll Always Come Back

When America’s Got Talent host Terry Crews announced Milligan’s name, the Texan smiled broadly and specifically thanked Cowell, one of the show’s judges and its executive producer.

“Simon, you said you were surprised I came back,” he said. “America’s Got Talent has changed my life. I will always come back if y’all need me.”

Then judge Heidi Klum told Milligan, “looks like you’re an America’s Got Talent success story already.”

And that wasn’t hyperbole from Klum. Milligan performed “Kiss Goodbye All Night” in Tuesday’s show. And it zoomed to No. 1, Wednesday, on the iTunes country chart. He passed Olivia Newton-John’s “Let Me Be There.” Fans of Newton-John, who died Monday, are downloading all the pop star’s top songs. And back in the early 1970s, she also enjoyed success in the country genre. Her song “I Honestly Love You” came in at No. 4 on the country chart.

Meanwhile, America’s Got Talent fans also listened to Milligan’s “Sounds Like Something I’d Do.” He used that original song as his audition for AGT. It hit No. 1 back in June. And as of Wednesday, it’s at No. 3.

Judge Howie Mandel, who predicted Milligan’s chart success last night, tweeted a “told y’all,” Wednesday.

Cowell lauded Milligan after Tuesday’s performance for returning to the show. Cowell figured Milligan could skip the rest of the talent competition after he enjoyed such immediate success during the auditions. Plus, Milligan tried American Idol back in 2018. He earned a spot at the live shows, but elected not to finish the process.

Cowell told Milligan he had his “absolute respect.”

“In my opinion, I think you are the real deal,” Cowell told him. “You’re a great songwriter. You have real charisma

AGT Selects Two Finalists Each Week

America’s Got Talent tweaked its format this summer. The judges selected 55 acts from the auditions. For the next five weeks, the talent show will feature 11 acts. Each week, two acts will earn a spot in the finals, which are set for Sept. 13-14. And each week, the act who receives the most votes receives one spot. Then the judges choose another act from those who finished second through fifth in the voting.

America’s Got Talent didn’t reveal who finished No. 1. Comedian Don McMillan finished third. McMillan is 62 and because he’s a self-described nerdy engineer, he uses charts in his hilarious act. The judges still will choose one wildcard entry into September’s championship round, so McMillian has a chance to survive.

Last year’s champion, Dustin Tavella, performed. He’s currently headlining the AGT show in Las Vegas, thrilling audiences with his uplifting magical acts.

The America’s Got Talent winner earns a cool $1 million and a spot in the Vegas show. Milligan’s Tuesday performance definitely is worth a rewatch. Enjoy. By the way, he’s releasing his album on Sept. 15, the day after the finals.