With ten versatile and brilliant acts in this "America's Got Talent" performance finale, we can't possibly predict the winner ... but we did anyway.
After tonight's performance finale, we might have to change the name of "America's Got Talent" to "America's Got Too Much Talent."
Ten acts performed, and I'm ready to award the million dollars to just about all of them. Last season, it was almost obvious that 12-year-old ventriloquist Darci Lynne was going to win, but I have absolutely no confidence in calling it this year ... not that this stopped me.
And we got a true variety show, with only four of the six acts vocalists, and little Courtney Hadwin is in a class of her own. With two comedians, a trapeze act, a magician, a violinist and a dance crew to round it out, it was a versatile night of great entertainment.
In fact, one act was so flawlessly executed, Simon Cowell started genuinely pondering building a reality show around it. And I cannot tell a lie, I've been trying to set my DVR to record it ever since.
Only one act can win the headline act in Vegas, but I imagine several of the finalists will be invited to be a part of it, and this night is going to jumpstart a lot of dreams and launch a lot of careers. The saddest part of it is that it all ends tomorrow night, meaning we won't get to see them again next week.
Fair warning, since I'm safe at home, I'm probably going to be a little harsher than my colleagues Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell. But I might be nicer, too. Maybe. Even though it's basically a crap shoot this year, I'm gonna rank them from worst to first to see who emerges as my winner.
(opera singer) Daniel compromised Mel B's desire to hear him sing in Italian with his own penchant for doing modern songs by exploring Andrea Bocelli's performance of "Perfect Symphony" with Ed Sheeran. And his voice was so perfectly suited for it, the performance was utterly transcendent. He could have just stepped out of a recording studio with that vocal and gotten a thumbs up; it was that good. Opera has won this show before, but there is a lot of talent this year, and performing second is going to make it easier for him to be overlooked by voters.
(trapeze act) Props for a brilliant ending, with her holding and dropping him. Not every danger stunt worked as beautifully as they'd probably hoped, but doing the entire routine with him blindfolded certainly added an element of true danger and some of those moves were mesmerizing to watch. This is one of the most unique acts we've seen make it to a finals on "AGT," but I'm not sure it's quite strong enough to beat out its competitors Still, they are brilliant in what they do, and some variety show in Vegas should totally make them a part of its show so they can have their dream regardless of what happens here.
Samuel J. Comroe
(comedian) Unfortunately, Samuel has to compare to Vicki on the night, and she outperformed him overall. Samuel is a bit of a slow burn, which fits his Southern style and charm, but it meant his set took a bit to really get going, and the first few jokes didn't land as sharply. By the end, though, I thought he was landing everything well, and we'd been fully immersed in his world. It's hard to sell comedy in such a short span. Samuel would do great with a half-hour or hour special to tell his story, but I'm afraid this chapter won't be enough to win, though it should help him kickstart his career to the next level.
(singer) I love that she went a different direction with Snow Patrol's "Run," but at the same time made it sound absolutely like a signature Glennis Grace song. Her voice is so effortlessly powerful when it needs to be, and her control of each note is masterful. She really does perform like someone who's been doing this professionally for so long that it's second nature to her, which Howie hinted at. She's had a vocal career in the Netherlands and now she's trying to come stateside, and with a voice like that, there should be nothing standing in her way of achieving her goals. Also, that dress ... those lines were mesmerizing!
Brian King Joseph
(violinist) Once again, BKJ knows how to put on a show with his violin. His sound was on point tonight, but it was his theatricality that really sold the overall performance. Sure, he mugged a little aggressively for the camera, but you could feel the excitement coming off of him. I don't know how much input he had on his stage production, but it was fresh and interesting and gave you things to look at as he injected cool new life into modern track, "Heartless." I'm not sure it's a winning performance, but it's a career-shaping one and Brian King Joseph will be fine after this.
(singer) Courtney is something special, and definitely someone who's career I'll be monitoring from this day forward, but I don't think that take on Tina Turner's "River Deep Mountain High is going to win her this show. She was an early favorite, but I think song choice has hindered her these past couple of performances. She's absolutely someone who deserves a chance to grow into the unique artist that lives inside of her. And she's one of the most unique performers to ever hit that "AGT" stage. Maybe she'll win it all anyway.
(singer) The world's kindest and most sweetest man wrapped the show with an emotionally wrought performance of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," and it brought the house to tears. Michael didn't need to belt the tune or seek a power note to lure the audience in, he did it with the character of his voice and the intimacy with which he caressed the lyrics. The same kind heart that carries him through his day is how he's able to connect with songs the way he does. His empathy is through the roof, and it makes viewers and the judges connect with him. It was beautiful and affecting. Not the most dynamic performance of the night, but he could pull out a win on sincerity and character.
(dancers) It seems like everyone is really bring their best to the stage. That opening sequence alone was so visually stunning and breathtaking, it really showed the level of discipline, training and musicality this whole troupe has. They are massive in number, but they are one in spirit. All of the attention is paid to the high-flying littel girls -- and they always impress -- but the reason this works is because everyone knows their role, is proud to be a part of the bigger picture and comes together to create magic. That was another stellar performance. Simon's right, it's almost impossible to call this night.
(magician) I'm not gonna lie, I thought Shin has been stronger in weeks past, but I still couldn't take my eyes off of him throughout this entire performance. It was the randomness of the nine of hearts becoming the entirety of every trick that was truly remarkable. The animated transformation of a six of hearts into a nine was a new one. I still don't know how he does most of what he does, but I wasn't quite as blown away this time. Maybe the showmanship wasn't quite as sharp. The floating cards didn't do it for me (unless they'd all flipped and been nine of hearts), but he's still the best I've ever seen at this type of magic and would be a worthy winner.
(comedian) A comedian has never won "AGT" but I'm not sure a comedian has made as strong a case for victory as Vicki just did. On a season of successful sets, that was by far her most consistent and funniest. Every joke landed, from the swimsuit competition to her description of the menu at her all-male restaurant, Woodpeckers (Peckers for short) -- no shrimp! Vicki is a scathing comedian with a brilliantly underrepresented point of view in the world of comedy. She deserves something to come of her time on this show, even if she doesn't pull off an upset victory. Simon is ready to build a reality show out of her trailer park community, and we're not gonna lie, we'd watch that.
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