Richmond sand sculptor finishes fifth on TV's 'America's Got Talent'

ctruman@herald-leader.comSeptember 13, 2012 

Richmond sand artist Joe Castillo was one of six finalists but could not become the second Kentuckian to win the NBC show America's Got Talent.

Castillo was voted off the program on a special two-hour finale, which aired at 8 p.m. Thursday on WLEX-TV. He finished in fifth place overall.

Olate Dogs, a variety show featuring a troupe of trained dogs performing elaborate, acrobatic tricks, won first-place overall and the $1 million prize that comes with it.

Castillo, who introduced many viewers to illuminated sand manipulation, also inspired a fashion craze with his beret. For his final judged performance, on Wednesday, Castillo drew sand portraits of host Nick Cannon and judges Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern.

Castillo added a beret to his sand portrait of Stern, who had advised Castillo to lose the beret.

In addition to Olate Dogs, Castillo's competition was David Garibaldi and his CMYKs with performance art; The Untouchables children's dance troupe; Comedian Tom Cotter; and "earth harpist" William Close.

Stern has called Castillo an "amazing talent."

"I love telling stories with sand," Castillo said during Wednesday's show. "But now the sand is kind of writing my story and my future."

Kevin Skinner, a singer and chicken farmer from Western Kentucky, won season 4 of the talent show and in 2010 released an album titled Long Ride.

Cheryl Truman: (859)231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

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