Grimm, a native of Waveland, Miss., was revealed as the winner of the NBC variety competition on its season conclusion airing Wednesday. Viewers had cast their votes after Tuesday's performance show.
Grimm, 30, looked shocked when he heard his name announced. Then he bent to hug and earnestly console the runner-up, 10-year-old soprano sensation Jackie Evancho of Pittsburgh.
Many handicappers had expected Jackie to be the top vote-getter. Her pure, powerful voice repeatedly left the judges (Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel) scrambling to find new ways to sing her praises.
But Grimm's soft-spoken manner and signature stingy-brimmed hat endeared him to "Talent" viewers, along with his soulful vocals. Describing himself as "just a boy from Mississippi," he more than once expressed surprise that he had made it through the weeks of competition.
From the start he had said that, if he won, he wanted to use some of his prize money to help his grandparents, who raised him and lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. He plans to give them a new home.
Along with his $1 million prize as winner, Grimm will headline a national "America's Got Talent" live tour.
The two other finalists were Prince Poppycock, the outlandishly costumed operatic creation of Los Angeles store clerk John Quale, and the performance troupe Fighting Gravity, a group of 13 fraternity brothers from Virginia Tech at Blacksburg, Va.