'America's Got Talent' returns for 7th season

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"America's Got Talent," NBC's top rated summer series from producers FremantleMedia North America and Simon Cowell's SYCO Television, returns this summer with the hottest performers from across the country ready to compete in the blockbuster reality show's seventh season. The live shows will originate from the New York Tri-State area this summer. This year, outspoken, unedited radio personality, television host and author Howard Stern joins the experienced and talented judge dais alongside comedian, TV host and producer Howie Mandel and daytime TV host, reality producer and music manager Sharon Osbourne. Actor, producer and comedian Nick Cannon returns as host.

With the talent search open to acts of all ages, "America's Got Talent" has brought the variety format back to the forefront of American culture by showcasing performers from across the country. The series is a true celebration of the American spirit, featuring a colorful array of hopeful stars, including singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, impressionists, jugglers, magicians and ventriloquists, all vying for their chance to strut and perform on stage hoping to win America's hearts - and the $1 million prize.

West Virginia native Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. beat out thousands of acts, to take home the coveted $1 million grand prize last season. He has since signed with Columbia/SYCO records and released his first album, "That's Life," this past November. Murphy Jr. is currently touring in select U.S. cities.

Mississippi-born soul singer Michael Grimm was recently crowned the winner of the fifth season's competition. The win moved the humble soul singer to tears as he took home the show's $1 million prize. Grimm, who promised to build his grandparents a house when he won "America's Got Talent," fulfilled that promise in mid-March, when Thomas and Laurie Butters moved into their new home in Mississippi. The couple, who raised Grimm and his sister, had lost their Hancock County home to Hurricane Katrina. He has also just signed a record deal with Epic records. Season 5 also brought national attention to then-10-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho, who has gone on to release several best-selling albums.

Season 4 winner Kevin Skinner released his debut album, "Long Ride," in 2010. One of that season's finalists, Recycled Percussion, are currently headlining their own show at the Tropicana Las Vegas Theater.

Season 2 winner Terry Fator - a ventriloquist from Dallas, Texas - achieved his lifelong dream when he was crowned the second season champion. After the win, he went on to sign a five-year, $100-million-dollar deal to headline at the Mirage in Las Vegas.

"America's Got Talent" is produced by FremantleMedia North America and Simon Cowell's SYCO Television. Simon Cowell, Cecile Frot-Coutaz ("American Idol"), Jason Raff, Ken Warwick ("American Idol") and Georgie Hurford-Jones are executive producers.