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Tom Cotter delivers final 'AGT' comedy routine
Rockland County's Tom Cotter rolled the dice — well, he watched host Nick Cannon roll one oversized die, anyway — before launching into his final stand-up comedy routine on "America's Got Talent," which will award its $1 million grand prize Thursday night.
A few hours after Cotter's unorthodox prayer on Twitter, Cannon rolled a die with a comedy topic on each side of it, and it landed on "poor examples." Cotter then launched into a two-minute set about unusual bedtime stories for kids, including fairy tales with some odd premises.
" 'Sleeping Beauty,' remember this story?" asked Cotter for one of his bits. "The girl passes out, and the guy starts kissing her. That's illegal."
After his set, Cotter received a standing ovation from the judges and boisterous applause from the crowd, who stood and cheered long into the start of judge Howie Mandel's assessment.
"You just scratched and clawed your way to the top tonight," Mandel said.
Fellow judge Howard Stern, who launched his professional radio career in Briarcliff Manor, also raved about Cotter.
"There are times I sit here, even here in the finals, and say, 'I wish it'd be over already,'" Stern told Cotter. "With you ... you always leave me wanting more [for the right reasons]. You are amazing. You are a terrific comedian. And, in my book, a comedian deserves to win 'America's Got Talent,' and it should be you."
Sharon Osbourne, the third judge, commended Cotter, too. "I know that there's a whole further that you're going to be going," she told him. "I want to thank you for being here with us because you really are a funny guy."
Cotter then told Cannon what it would be like to win the competition — and the $1 million that comes with the title. "It would mean the world to me," Cotter said. "It would mean the world to my family. You [the judges] have taken the defibrillator and jacked it into my career. I can't thank you enough for that. No words for that."
While Cannon read the TelePrompTer to inform the audience on how to vote for Cotter, Cotter ripped open the shirt of his tuxedo to reveal a "2" on each pectoral muscle, because the suffix of the "AGT" phone number assigned to him ended in 2.
But in a package airing before Wednesday's edgy routine, viewers saw another side of the comedian — the soft-spoken family man who lives in Stony Point with his wife, Kerri Louise, and three sons. "I've been at this for 25 years. I've been scratching and clawing," he said in a montage that aired right before his final performance. "I want to be the first comedian to win 'America's Got Talent.' "
In the same montage, Cotter's wife expressed gratitude for the exposure "AGT" has brought her husband, because, she says, they're living "check to check."
In the last round of the NBC reality TV competition, Cotter faced off against the crafty canine act of Olate Dogs, the larger-than-life music theatrics of William Close and his Earth Harp, the child dancers of the Untouchables, the choreographed sand art of Joe Castillo and the splashy, art-dance fusion of David Garibaldi and his CMYK's.
After all six finalists performed Wednedsay night, Stern said he could see Cotter, Close or Olate Dogs winning the whole thing.
The winner will be announced during Thursday's two-hour season finale, which begins at 8 p.m. and will feature performances by Justin Bieber, Blue Man Group, Ne-Yo, Green Day, Flo Rida, OneRepublic and Larchmont native Joan Rivers.
Who deserves to win this season of "America's Got Talent"? Vote in the poll below and explain your answer in the comments section.