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'America's Got Talent' finale: Rockland's Tom Cotter runner-up
Rockland County comedian Tom Cotter finished in second place during Thursday night's season finale of "America's Got Talent."
In the eventful finale, the stand-up comedian, who lives in Stony Point, lost to the crafty canine act of Olate Dogs, but beat out the larger-than-life music theatrics of William Close and his Earth Harp (who finished third), the splashy, art-dance fusion of David Garibaldi and his CMYK's (fourth), the choreographed sand art of Joe Castillo (fifth), and the child dancers of the Untouchables (sixth).
Cotter closed his eyes but clapped graciously when host Nick Cannon announced that Olate Dogs won the grand prize of $1 million and the chance to headline a show in Las Vegas.
As confetti fell and the father-and-son trainers rejoiced with their dogs, Cannon asked Cotter how he felt: "Unbelievable," Cotter said. "It was really great. And I'm going to fall down the stairs and get my own million dollars tonight."
It would be the only time Cotter, a Rhode Island native, didn't make the final cut this season.
Earlier in the finale, Tom Cotter roasted the judges, who raved about him all season long, without criticism.
"We all learned that [Howard Stern] has a great face for radio," Cotter joked. "Howard looks like the bastard child of Joey Ramone and Big Bird, if Big Bird had Tourette syndrome and a slightly larger beak."
Sharon Osbourne laughed at Cotter's joke about her, and even called the punch line as it was delivered. "She speaks two languages fluently: English and Ozzy," with Osbourne saying "and Ozzy" at the same time.
Cotter even served up a little humble pie to Cannon: "Even without Mariah Carey, Nick would be a fine host ... at Applebee's."
Serving as a mentor halfway through Cotter's roast was Larchmont native Joan Rivers, who, too, had the audience and judges laughing consistently.
"Ugh, look at this [judges'] panel," she said. "If I want to see three people who make tons of money, and have no talent, I will not watch you guys; I will watch the Kardashians."
She ended her appearance with high praise for her fellow comedian: "Tom Cotter, if I had a heart, it would be overflowing," she said. Minutes later, she tweeted additional support: "Loved working with @TomCotterComic on AGT tonight. He's a joy, a pleasure, and very very funny!"
Cotter and his wife, fellow comedian Kerri Louise, live in Stony Point with their three children. Cotter has performed standup for about 25 years, and won several competitions at comedy festivals, including ones in Seattle, Boston and Las Vegas. But he’d hoped “America’s Got Talent” would give him the big break that had eluded him.
He might not have won the million-dollar prize, but the exposure and reach of "America's Got Talent" should serve him well in terms of name recognition and booking gigs, both in the Hudson Valley and beyond.
Cotter's "AGT" Twitter account was silent in the hour that followed the finale, but fans took to his "AGT" Facebook page to show their support for the local comedian.
"You should've won," Michelle Parlington-O'Donald, a Cotter fan, wrote. ":( A winner in my eyes all the way!"
"I'm sooo disappointed that you didn't win but you are gonna be one one the biggest, most paid comedians from here on out, you'll make your million plus Tom!!!!" added fan Kat Buzek. "I'll be at any live show you do within a few hours of here!!!! Me & All my people love you!!!!"
After Cotter's roast of the judges' panel, but right before he was eliminated, "AGT" showed a montage of Cotter's journey to the finals, full of praise from the judges and laughs from the audience.
"This is, by far and away, the biggest thing I've ever done," Cotter said in that montage.