Simon Cowell the of ‘AGT’ Season 18

Simon Cowell the of ‘AGT’ Season 18, It was “a bit of a surprise,” but Simon Cowell mentioned that his son Eric was “thrilled.” (Exclusive)

The season 18 finale of America’s Got Talent held its fair share of surprises, even for judge Simon Cowell!

In the culmination of a suspenseful elimination round, Adrian Stoica and his dog Hurricane emerged as the winners of AGT during the second part of the season finale on Wednesday night.

The trainer and his border collie garnered fan support from the very beginning, starting with their captivating audition in which they showcased a range of impressive tricks set to Meghan Trainor’s “Better When I’m Dancing.” This popularity carried through to their finale performance, where they wowed the audience with their act set to Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”

Speaking to PEOPLE backstage after the show, the 63-year-old Cowell admitted that the outcome of the season was a “bit of a surprise” for him.

He acknowledged that the results of public voting might not please everyone, with some people feeling disappointed or surprised. However, he praised Stoica and his dog’s performance, stating, “Their act last night was amazing.”

Simon Cowell the of 'AGT' Season 18

Cowell emphasized that he would have been content with any of the finalists winning from the previous night’s competition. He noted that after so many years in the entertainment industry, he has become accustomed to being surprised by the results. In fact, one of the aspects he appreciated about this season’s winners is that they had not expected to win at all.

Cowell also expressed his admiration for the adorable dog and the “happy ending” aspect of their victory. As someone who owns three dogs himself, he clearly had a soft spot for the canine winner.

Simon Cowell the of 'AGT' Season 18

Furthermore, Simon Cowell shared that it was an added delight for him that his 9-year-old son, Eric, who was in the audience on Wednesday night, was “thrilled” to witness Adrian Stoica and Hurricane’s victory. Cowell playfully remarked, “We’re going to have a good car ride back home.”

Eric’s excitement was not unique, as fellow judge Heidi Klum also expressed her jubilation for the “adorable” duo.

“I’m super excited for them,” Klum told PEOPLE. She praised Stoica as a “really lovely man” and had kind words for Hurricane, the canine performer. Klum highlighted the unique aspect of their act, as Hurricane executed all her moves without the use of treats or prompting.

“It was amazing — it was like an actor who really read the script and was able to do it all,” Klum, 50, added. “It was very cute. I mean, how can it not be cute? It’s a beautiful dog act.”

On the other hand, AGT host Terry Crews candidly admitted that “nothing” about the season 18 finale unfolded as expected. However, the 55-year-old television personality also shared that he wasn’t entirely taken aback by the victory of Adrian Stoica and Hurricane.

Simon Cowell the of 'AGT' Season 18

Crews commented, “It’s like, ‘What?’ But at the same time, I’m not surprised because America loves dogs.” He went on to praise Hurricane, describing her as one of the most intelligent and remarkable dogs, comparable to the iconic Lassie. He even mentioned that Simon Cowell had suggested the possibility of a TV show or a movie centered around Hurricane, emphasizing her extraordinary talents.

Adrian Stoica expressed his gratitude and feeling of being “lucky” to share this remarkable journey with his loyal canine companion. Their partnership extends far beyond AGT, as they have performed together all around the world. With the championship title now in their possession, Stoica described their journey together as “magical.”

The Italian-born trainer, aged 45, conveyed his happiness, stating, “When you have quality time with your dog, it’s the best thing in the world.”

In the finale, the duo faced stiff competition from 10 other acts, including magician Anna DeGuzman, synchronized dance group Murmuration, stand-up comedian Ahren Belisle, singer-musician Putri Ariani, head-balancing duo the Ramadhani Brothers, singer Lavender Darcangelo, dance group Chibi Unity, the Mzansi Youth Choir, the 82nd Airborne Division Chorus, and the all-women Japanese dance group Avantgardey.

In the climactic finale on Wednesday, the judges unveiled the top 5 acts, comprising Stoica and Hurricane, the Ramadhani Brothers, Putri Ariani, Anna DeGuzman, and Murmuration. The final results saw the Ramadhani Brothers securing the fifth-place spot, Ariani finishing in fourth, Murmuration claiming third place, and DeGuzman as the runner-up in second.

Simon Cowell the of 'AGT' Season 18

As the crowned winners, Stoica and Hurricane earned a grand prize of $1 million. Additionally, they will headline the America’s Got Talent Presents Superstars Live show at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.