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‘America’s Got Talent’ Gets It Right, Crowns Jackie Evancho Runner-Up

The pint-sized soprano joins Adam Lambert and Susan Boyle in the pantheon of second-place juggernauts; winner Michael Grimm, it was nice knowing ya


It's getting to be that second place in reality TV competitions is the real prize.

Just ask Adam Lambert, Susan Boyle, Crystal Bowersox, every "Bachelor(ette)" runner-up who went on to be the next with harem privileges … and now 10-year-old soprano sensation Jackie Evancho.

The pint-sized opera singer from Pittsburgh lost on Wednesday night's finale of "America's Got Talent," and nobody seemed more shocked than Michael Grimm. The bluesy crooner with the unironic fedora won the NBC competition, which is just about the last we'll be hearing of the 30-year-old from Waveland, Mississippi.

Not so with Evancho.

The pre-tween's too-good-to-be-true singing voice regularly unhinged the jaws of judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel, yet somehow, Grimm's aw-shucks demeanor and bland musicality won over American voters.

Sound familiar, Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze?

(Read also: Lee DeWyze and More White Guys: This … Is 'American Idol')

Grimm's $1 million prize should be a nice consolation when he fades into obscurity sometime later this afternoon. Meanwhile, Evancho will continue to be a YouTube sensation and, based on her talent and track, should be making a living via recordings (her album is already blowing up) and live performance for years to come.

To put a reality TV twist on Ricky Bobby's credo: If you ain't first, congratulations!

Follow Josh Dickey on Twitter at @JoshDickey.