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12-year-old ventriloquist wins 'America's Got Talent'

A 12-year-old singing ventriloquist is getting a $1 million prize and her own Las Vegas show after taking the "America's Got Talent" crown on the season 12 finale of the NBC reality competition.

Darci Lynne Farmer, of Oklahoma City, beat out another youngster, 10-year-old singer Angelica Hale, for the 'AGT' title Wednesday by garnering the most votes from viewers.

Farmer told The Associated Press after the show that she was "overcome with joy and luckiness." Judge Heidi Klum said the girl "is the full package," adding that "she really touched people's hearts" and "made people laugh at home."

Farmer is the third ventriloquist to win the competition. Season 2 champ Terry Fator performed a duet with Farmer on the season finale and worked with her on her scripts.

Shaq to back Democrat after GOP Christie endorsement in '13

New Jersey native and former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal is backing Democrat Phil Murphy in this year's contest to succeed Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Murphy campaign spokesman Dan Bryan says O'Neal will formally endorse Murphy on Monday. He had no further details.

O'Neal backed Christie in his 2013 re-election bid, calling the governor a "great man" and even appearing in an ad for him. Christie cannot seek re-election because of term limits.

Murphy is leading GOP Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno in the polls ahead of the Nov. 7 election.

Guadagno's camp did not address O'Neal's decision to endorse a Democrat this year. Instead, her campaign criticized Murphy over his promise to hike taxes, including on millionaires. And her spokesman Ricky Diaz said, "The lieutenant governor is proud of the growing support she's receiving from hardworking taxpayers."

O'Neal isn't the first high-profile figure to get involved in the race.

This week, Murphy's campaign announced that former President Barack Obama would campaign for the Democrat. Details have not yet been finalized. Former Vice President Joe Biden also backed Murphy and appeared with him before the June primary.

Guadagno got the backing of former "Saturday Night Live" star and actor Joe Piscopo, who had been weighing entering the race himself. She also has the support of Christie, who as a former presidential candidate and former adviser to President Donald Trump, has a high profile.

But Guadagno has distanced herself from the governor, whose approval ratings have hit a record low.

O'Neal was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. He was an instant box office draw during his career because of his mammoth frame and rim-shaking dunks. He also exhibited a personality that was as playful as it was engaging.

UK: Tate to reunite Picasso nudes for first time since 1932

An exhibition at London's Tate Modern will reunite three Picasso nudes painted days apart but not displayed together for almost a century, the gallery said Thursday.

"Nude, Green Leaves and Bust," ''Nude in a Black Armchair" and "The Mirror" are boldly colored depictions of the artist's lover Marie-Therese Walter, all painted in a five-day period of March 1932.

The paintings are held in private collections but are being loaned for an exhibit focusing on Picasso's work during a single year, 1932. They haven't been displayed together since Picasso's exhibitions in Paris and Zurich that year.Announcing details of the show, Tate Modern said that 1932 is now seen as the artist's "year of wonders," confirming him as a 20th century master who absorbed and transcended styles including Cubism and surrealism.

But curator Achim Borchardt-Hume said that at the time people were asking: "Is he still valid or is he over?"

"He was very aware of people asking that question."

"Picasso 1932 — Love, Fame, Tragedy" includes more than 100 paintings, sculptures and works on paper by the Spanish artist, who at the time was 50 and living in Paris. Highlights include "The Dream," another portrait of Walter that is considered among Picasso's greatest works. It was once owned by Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn, who put his elbow through the canvas in 2006 just after agreeing to sell it for $139 million.

The show will explore the interplay between Picasso's work and his life — including a complicated love life which Borchardt-Hume said draws comparisons to the much-married King Henry VIII.

But the curator said it wouldn't reduce the artist to "salacious love affairs."

"One of the things we will try to do is actually go back to Picasso as an artist, who like any other artist faced the question every morning when he got up: What to do next?" he said.

The show was organized by Tate and the Picasso Museum in Paris, where it will run — without the three nudes — from Oct. 10 to Feb. 11.

The exhibit is scheduled to open at Tate Modern on March 8, 2018 and runs to Sept. 9.

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This story has been corrected to show that the three nudes will not feature in the Paris exhibition.

Businessman put on notice after rant against Kathy Griffin

One of the nation's biggest homebuilders is putting its top executive on notice after a vulgar rant against comedian Kathy Griffin was caught on tape and went viral.

KB Home CEO Jeffrey Mezger, who is a neighbor of Griffin's in California, was recorded by a security camera hurling slurs against Griffin while in a heated argument with her boyfriend. Mezger was angered after Griffin or her boyfriend complained to police over a family get together at Mezger's house.

KB Home said in a regulatory filing Thursday that while Mezger has been "a great leader," his behavior was unacceptable and that he would be fired for any similar incidents in the future. It also cut his annual bonus by 25 percent.

There were apparently a number of complaints since the couple moved in to the house beside Mezger's. Griffin and her boyfriend, in the incident that preceded the taped confrontation, appear to have called police over noise made by children playing in a backyard pool.

There has been some backlash against the executive since the vulgar, two-minute outburst was first aired by HuffPost.

TV host and financial adviser Suze Orman wrote on Twitter this week, "Disgraceful talk from the CEO of KB HOMES. You really want to buy a home from this man? Beyond Disgusting!"

KB Home and Mezger did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

How much the incident will cost Mezger, who has been CEO since 2006, isn't clear. He was paid $9 million last year in salary and stock awards, but he hasn't received a bonus since 2014. In that year, Mezger received a bonus of $125,000.

Nobel Prize, JFK's chair, Trump wedding souvenir up for bid

A Nobel prize, a rocking chair commissioned by President John F. Kennedy and a souvenir from President Donald Trump's wedding to first lady Melania, are among the treasures up for grabs at a Los Angeles auction this fall.

Julien's Auctions says its "Icons & Idols: Hollywood and More" event will take place on Nov. 17. Available for bidding is a Nobel Prize medal for chemistry awarded to a pair of researchers in 1956. Presidential history buffs may be interested in a replica of Kennedy's Oval Office rocking chair that was commissioned by the president as a gift. Also available is a souvenir mini wedding cake from Trump's 2005 wedding.

Memorabilia from stars like Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Grace Kelly will also be up for bid.

Review: iTunes video upgrade makes the new Apple TV worth it

It might seem odd to review the new Apple TV streaming device — one specifically designed to display super-sharp video known as 4K — without actually owning a 4K TV.

But in a way, that's the point.

Most people still don't have 4K TVs, so the new Apple TV model doesn't offer them much. But if you're an Apple fan and already have 4K, the choice is clear. The new Apple TV 4K is out Friday starting at $179, or $30 more than the regular model. It's a small difference compared with the price of your TV.

It's worth noting that alternatives to Apple TV are cheaper and equally capable at a basic level. All of the devices connect to a TV so you can stream most major video services on a big screen. Roku and Amazon have 4K models for less than $100 and non-4K versions for even less. Both are even ahead of Apple TV in being able to stream Amazon video now; it's coming soon to Apple TV.

But none of the rivals will play movies or shows purchased from Apple's iTunes, at least without clunky workarounds. To watch those on a big screen directly, you need an Apple TV. And Apple has just sweetened the deal on that front.

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THE FUTURE HAS ARRIVED

Apple's embrace of 4K is significant, despite the fact that Roku, Amazon and other rivals beat Apple to that milestone. Apple often waits until there's broad enough appeal for new technologies. That time is now, given growth in sales of 4K TV and more movies and TV shows released in 4K formats.

Parallel to that is the rise of high-dynamic range technology in television sets. HDR increases color range and produces brighter whites and darker blacks. Better contrast means details in bright scenes aren't washed out. Apple TV 4K supports HDR, too.

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PATH TO UPGRADES

4K is coming, just as high definition earlier replaced standard definition. The consulting company Futuresource says a third of TVs sold worldwide this year will be 4K capable, up from 25 percent last year. But people tend to keep TVs for many years, unlike high-turnover phones.

In demos with tech companies and visits to Best Buy, I find superior picture quality in 4K. Your couch needs to close enough to the screen to see the difference. My next TV will likely have 4K, but my 4-year-old Vizio HD TV still works fine (though I'm sure I just jinxed it).

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ITUNES UPGRADES ITS VIDEO ... AND YOURS

Many Hollywood blockbusters now have 4K versions of home video releases. Netflix and Amazon are also trying to make their original shows available in 4K. But many indie and older titles remain in HD; even older shows like "The Wonder Years" are still stuck in standard definition.

Fortunately, Apple isn't making you choose now. If you buy something in HD through iTunes, you'll automatically get the 4K version when it's out. And if a 4K version is available now, it will cost the same as its HD counterpart. It's never been clear why HD video is more expensive than SD when actors, directors and others behind the movies were paid the same.

Lots of people were peeved at how the music industry tried to get them to repurchase the same songs on cassette tapes, CDs and then digital files. I have a collection of DVDs and don't feel like paying again for higher-quality Blu-ray or digital versions.

So Apple's decision to treat 4K and HD the same is a good one. That only applies to iTunes, though. Netflix is charging extra for a plan that includes 4K, even when viewed on Apple TVs.

A word of caution: While the new iPhone 8 and iPad Pros unveiled this past June will support HDR, they won't display 4K. Even the upcoming iPhone X falls short in that respect.

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BEYOND VIDEO

The new Apple TV gets a faster processor, which should make high-end games better to play. A new remote offers more precise motion control and a raised menu button to make it easier to orient yourself without looking. These features alone aren't enough to justify an Apple TV 4K unless you're a gamer. The non-4K version is getting the new remote, too. Picture quality is the same for both versions on regular HD sets like mine.

In any case, Apple TV — with or without 4K — will be most useful if you're already tied into Apple's system with iDevices and iTunes. Given that rival devices are cheaper, what you're buying isn't the device, but an experience — integration and syncing with all your other Apple gadgets. For instance, 4K video taken on an iPhone will play easily on an Apple TV 4K.

If you're in that camp and are thinking of buying a new TV in the next few years, there's a good chance it will be 4K, so you might as well choose the 4K version of Apple TV now. But if it's longer, a better Apple TV will likely be out by then. The non-4K version will do just fine for now.

Jimmy Kimmel ramps up battle against GOP health care bill

Jimmy Kimmel used his late-night platform to continue his assault on the GOP health care bill, firing back at critics including U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and "Fox & Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade.

The ABC star on Wednesday was following up on his monologue from Tuesday, when he said the bill Cassidy is co-sponsoring failed the "Jimmy Kimmel test," a phrase Cassidy coined in May after Kimmel announced his newborn son underwent heart surgery for a birth defect.

The Louisiana Republican said Wednesday morning that Kimmel "does not understand" the bill. Kimmel mocked Cassidy's claim and called his proposal "the worst health care bill yet."

After Kilmeade labeled Kimmel a "Hollywood elite" pushing politics, Kimmel called Kilmeade "a phony little creep" who Kimmel says previously asked him to write a blurb for his book. Kilmeade disputed some of Kimmel's account on "Fox & Friends" on Thursday, saying he asked him to be a part of a sports book he wrote in 2003. He added that he hoped Kimmel's son gets better and told the host: "Continue to do a great job."

Martha Stewart, others to attend women's empowerment event

Some famous friends will be on hand for Mika Brzezinski's latest "Know Your Value" event.

Martha Stewart, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jane Pauley are among those expected Oct. 30 for an all-day conference at Manhattan's Grand Hyatt hotel.

"Know Your Value" is based on the best-selling book by the co-host of MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

The mission is to develop an "empowered community" for women in their personal and professional lives. Others who have appeared at "Know Your Value" gatherings include Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand of New York, Rachael Ray and Brooke Shields.

Brzezinski published her book in 2011 and started the "Know Your Value" movement three years later.

The Oct. 30 event is in partnership with NBCUniversal News Group.

Who won 'America's Got Talent'?

Ventriloquist singer Darci Lynne, 12, took the season 12 crown on “America’s Got Talent.”

>> Read more trending news

Ten-year-old Johns Creek, Georgia, singing phenom Angelica Hale couldn’t fend off Lynne’s combination of humor, ventriloquism skills and charm. But Hale’s exceptional sweetness and vocal prowess helped her finish second.

Based on polls, Lynne was the consensus favorite to win. Only Hale had a remote shot at upsetting her. Bottom line: America loves a good ventriloquist. Season 2 winner and fellow ventriloquist/singer Terry Fator is considered the most successful Vegas act to come out of the show. They even got to perform together during the finale.

Earlier in the finale, Angelica and Kechi did a trio with Kelly Clarkson on her hit song “Stronger.” Clarkson noted that the finalists all get the same amount of airtime on the show as the winner. 

Fifth place was the dog act Sara and Hero, which is a bit of a shocker but proof that Simon Cowell’s push for the act early on was worthwhile. Fourth place was deaf singer Mandy Harvey. In third? Dance/light act Light Balance.

Evie Clair didn’t finish in the Top 5. There were too many good singers splitting votes.

Japanese video gaming adapting new tech for familiar titles

The Japanese video game industry is finding its way out of the doldrums by adapting new technology for decades-old titles. And that energy was evident at the annual Tokyo Game Show, which opened to media Thursday before opening to the public over the weekend.

"Our old fans used to play Japanese games, and those people are excited those games are coming back and they recognize them as Japanese-style games," game creator Koji Igarashi told The Associated Press at the show in Makuhari Messe hall in Chiba, a Tokyo suburb.

"Truly game-like games" is the way Igarashi described the genres enjoying revival, including his side-scrolling role-playing games. His latest version will come with a 3-D movie section.

Although smartphones hammered the video-games market for some years, from about 2010, the companies have adjusted. After the dust settled, some of the games that stood the test of time turned out to be Japanese, such as "Monster Hunter" and "Resident Evil," known as "Biohazard" in Japan, both from Capcom Co., the "Super Mario" series from Nintendo and "Gran Turismo" from Sony, to name a few.

Also helping are new consoles from the Japanese makers, such as the PlayStation 4 from Sony Corp. and the Nintendo Switch. More than 60 million PlayStation 4, or PS4, consoles have been sold since they went on sale last year. Switch sales already total some 4.7 million globally. Switch went on sale in March.

Kyoto-based Nintendo Co. initially scoffed at the threat from smartphones but did an about-face and began offering smartphone versions of their flagship games like "Super Mario" since 2015. "Pokemon Go," featuring Nintendo's Pokemon characters and played on smartphones, became a global hit.

Games are also taking on more features, such as massive online communities, as well as immersive virtual reality, not only leading to new kinds of games but also helping revive interest in old-style genres.

Igarashi compared that to the way Japanese movie-making has endured along with Hollywood films.

"We are just offering what we find as fun," he said, noting that what he called his "Japanese idea of fun" can cross borders. "And we must never lose sight of that — what makes us truly us."

In his latest game, "Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night," the player becomes Miriam, an orphan who awakens from a coma and battles demons as she tries to end a curse that is turning her skin to crystal.

Igarashi, known as "Iga" among game fans, produced the classic "Castlevania" vampire-action game series, which started in 1997, while at major Japanese game software maker Konami until he left three years ago to be on his own.

He has raised $5.5 million in pledged funding, mostly from the U.S., on Kickstarter for his Gothic-horror "Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night." It is set to be playable on the Switch, PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Vita, when it launches in the first half of next year in seven languages, including Chinese and Italian.

Atsushi Morita, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan, Sony's game division, said Japanese culture is at the root of visual story-telling that began with manga comic books, went on to animation and films and now allows for an interactive element in games.

Many people used to play games, Morita added, but they have stopped as they got older. But with new technology like the virtual reality headset that Sony has developed and an array of software products coming out, the time may be finally ripe for the Japanese game industry to reap the rewards, he said.

"We want people to once again remember and rediscover the fun of games," said Morita. "We want people to re-experience that joy, that emotion."

Square Enix Holdings Co. President Yosuke Matsuda said his company is putting out the 15th game of the longtime hit "Final Fantasy" series. Long lines were forming at its giant booth at the Tokyo Game Show for a chance to try it out.

"Japanese games are loved by the world," he said.

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Kageyama can be reached at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyama

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