“AGT” finalists: Dana Crawford, J. Cole, Tyler Perry, Zuri Craig, Simon Cowell

"AGT" finalists: Dana Crawford, J. Cole, Tyler Perry, Zuri Craig, Simon Cowell

‘America’s Got Talent’ finalist and Tyler Perry player Zuri Craig dies at 44


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Dana Crawford

Dana Crawford

Dana Crawford


Dana Crawford, whose mother was murdered by a man who was later imprisoned for the killing, won “America’s Got Talent” on Saturday, becoming the first black woman to win the televised singing competition. She won the show’s most prestigious prize — a $1 million recording contract — in the category of singer-songwriter for her self-produced single with Grammy-nominated producer, J. Cole, called “Finesse,” written by Crawford and her husband.

The first-time mother of three, who now lives in Los Angeles, was also one of 12 contestants to advance to the live finals of the TV singing competition, which airs its 11th season this Sunday and Monday night on NBC. The other 11 finalists were:

• The “America’s Got Talent” rookie singer Tyler Perry, from Austin, Texas. The actor, known for movies like Tyler Perry’s “Ice Loves Pussy” and the television hit Tyler Perry’s “Dope,” was the clear frontrunner for a record-tying seventh consecutive “AGT” win. (His win was in part due to the fact that he had to be eliminated in the first week after a judge removed him from the show for allegedly making homophobic comments against a gay contestant.)

• The “AGT” rookie singer-songwriter Zuri Craig, from Memphis, Tennessee. The aspiring “AGT” winner represented Tennessee in the television show’s first season. She also appeared in the show’s live shows in 2014 and 2013, performing her own song, “Gone,” and performing a duet with Perry, “I Believe,” which she wrote with the “AGT” finalists. In 2015, “Gone” was used to promote a musical collaboration between Perry and his “Dope” film co-star Jamie Foxx.

“I want to congratulate Dana, J. Cole and Tyler Perry on making tonight’s Top 12.”

— “America’s Got Talent” host Simon Cowell

“She brought her voice to a level that nobody had heard before,” Cowell said in a statement. “She did something I will never, ever forget. She put hearts and souls into her music. You saw her for the first time, and you saw her live, and

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