Michael Grimm America’s Got Talent’s Buy Home for Grandparents

“I really thought Jackie had it in the bag,” a still-in-shock Michael Grimm told PEOPLE after winning the $1 million prize and top billing at the upcoming AGT tour, which will stop for a show in Las Vegas. “I was preparing my speech to leave. I couldn’t believe I heard my name.

Judge Piers Morgan insisted Grimm’s victory was well deserved: “Michael’s genuine, he’s sincere, he’s very talented, he got better with every round. He’ll have a huge career. I think he’s like a young Van Morrison.”

Struggling musician Michael Grimm, 30, captured viewers’ hearts with his soulful pipes and humble struggles: Raised by his grandparents, who lost nearly everything in Hurricane Katrina, he entered Talent with the hopes of being able to buy them a new home. It’s a promise he intends to keep. “My grandparents don’t have to worry about anything anymore,” he said, tears filling his eyes. “I can’t put into words what that means to me. They’ve supported me in the music through the years, and they’ve seen me fall and get back up and keep going. Now I can take care of them.”

Grimm revealed he plans to propose to Lucy, his girlfriend of nearly three years and the inspiration for his performance of “When a Man Loves a Woman” during Tuesday’s finals. “That’s my girl,” he said, “and I’m not gonna let that one go.”

Beginning Oct. 1, fans will have a chance to check out Grimm for themselves on the America’s Got Talent Live tour. Beyond that, he’s eager to get into the studio and record an album.

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