'America's Got Talent' Season 7 grande finale recap: Olate Dogs wins it all!

Favorite William Close lands in third place

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The Season 7 grande finale of "America's Got Talent" showcased why the first word in the show's title is so very important. No matter what the judges think, no matter how much praise a performer receives, America ultimately selects the act that receives the million-dollar payday.

Though William Close and the Earth Harp Collective seemed like a shoo-in to headline in Las Vegas, Olate Dogs was the act that voters wanted to see. After the final performances on Wednesday evening, Close and comedian Tom Cotter emerged as the front-runners, but the talented canines won out in the end.

The grande finale also was a night filled with surprises, cameo appearances, and performances from Ne-Yo, Green Day, and Justin Bieber.

A two-hour consolation prize

Viewers tune in to the finale primarily to see who walks away with the cash and prizes. Host Nick Cannon and the producers have the unenviable task of keeping viewers tuned in until the end. In this case, the final results show turned into a two-hour consolation prize for those that did not win.

Speed painter David Garibaldi and his CMYKs teamed up with Flo Rida in a fusion of music and art. While the singer performed "I Cry," Garibaldi created a quick portrait of Flo Rida. The artist may not be headlining in Vegas, but this exposure should lead to some lucrative opportunities.

William Close brought his Earth Harp to the stage one more time to perform with OneRepublic. Though he finished the competition in third place, Close should do very well in the coming months. "America's Got Talent" did not give him as Las Vegas deal, but Close has the talent to earn one on his own.

Working with kids and animals, Frankie J took the stage with Olate Dogs and The Untouchables. The youthful dancers may not be a headlining act, but they do an excellent job performing behind an artist like Frankie J.

Tom Cotter skewered host Nick Cannon and the judges in a quick roast: "Even without Mariah Carey, Nick would be a fine host...at Applebee's." Joan Rivers made a surprise cameo appearance, complimenting Cotter but also saying that he didn't really roast the judges enough.

In a beautiful performance of "Edge of Glory," Joe Castillo created sand art accompanied by former members of the PS22 Chorus. Like the youthful singers, Castillo appears to have a bright future ahead of him.

Also-rans come back for one last bow

As a quick montage showed, "America's Got Talent" temporarily put the spotlight on several unusual and memorable acts. For the finale, Burton Crane, the self-proclaimed "Grandfather of Rap," brought his hand-held keyboard to the stage and performed his signature song, "Whatcha Gonna Do." Accompanied by e40, the Ranger$, and phony rapper Trish, Crane had the audience rocking.

Howie Mandel, a champion of singer Big Barry, brought the determined performer back in a comic video aimed at judge Howard Stern. Big Barry was a source of controversy earlier in Season 7, putting Mandel and Stern on opposite sides of the fence.

Finally the results

"America's Got Talent" thrives on suspense, which means the results weren't announced until the second hour. In reverse order, here are the final standings:

6) The Untouchables

5) Joe Castillo

4) David Garibaldi and his CMYKs

3) William Close and the Earth Harp Collective

2) Tom Cotter

1) Olate Dogs

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