Six powerhouse singers square off against acts as diverse as comedy, danger, sand art and magic -- plus, wild card picks add ventriloquism and more magic!
The first round is over and it's time for the finals to begin on "America's Got Talent: The Champions," which means it's time for the best of the best of the best.
If you thought you knew who was going to be here after five weeks of competition, well you did. Mostly. As expected, the judges added in a couple of fan-favorite wild cards, including the brilliantly charismatic magician Jon Dorenbos and ventriloquist singer Darci Lynne.
But we don't crown a winner tonight; that won't happen until next week's season finale. Will it be one of the six singers? Perhaps a danger act this time, or a comedian? There's another magician in the mix and a totally unique sand artist. With this much talent, it's anybody's game.
And hey, if you've been enjoying Terry Crews' infectious energy and enthusiasm as host of "AGT: The Champions," you're clearly not alone. There are a lot of changes coming to Season 14 of "America's Got Talent" this summer, and Terry is one of them.
Out is Tyra Banks and sticking around is Terry as host. That'll make him ever-so-slightly more experienced than the two new faces joining the judges' panel. Yup, after six seasons each, both Mel B and Heidi Klum are moving on, to be replaced by Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough.
Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel are expected to stay put. So it's going to be a whole new look for NBC's venerable talent show. In the meantime, we get to enjoy a farewell tour (of sorts) for Heidi and Mel.
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.
(singer) She has a truly beautiful voice but she is up against vocal powerhouses that leave your jaw on the ground and Kechi has never been that. She has a lovely voice and a beautifully tragic story and a huge heart and her strength and perseverance are inspirational. She absolutely earned and deserved her spot in these finals, but it's just not enough to win a show of this season's caliber.
(comedian) One of the best comedians this show has ever spotlighted, but that set isn't going to win this season for him. The gym jokes were a little too obvious (leg day, amiright?) and he spent a little too long on them. The Incredible Hulk shirt rip might win him a few votes, but on talent alone, we've seen him be much funnier so many times. Still, we really hope his career goes to the next level after this as he's more than deserving.
(danger act) From the beginning there was a little something off about his aim in the knife-throwing. He missed the first balloons shot completely, and a knife didn't even stick in the board during their second stunt. Plus, he was missing wider than usual. Did nerves get to him before they began? This is a very dangerous act to mess up.After that, though, he nailed everything and it was like it had never gone awry. The last stunt with the judges was both simple and terrifying and awesome. Still, the inconsistency probably cost them the title.
(singer) Still one of the most incredible young vocalists, but the song choice didn't seem to quite work for her this time around. Angelica seemed like she was chasing it the whole time, never quite capturing its essence or its melodic tones. She hit some impressive notes, but with no connection to the song it was lacking in substance or meaning. It seems as if her nerves might have crept in a bit, too.
(singer) What an amazing vocal range she has and she put it on full display with vocal runs and an operatic opening to "Call Me." She fumbled the lyrics a few time -- but English is not her first language -- but there's no denying the power of her instrument and how masterfully she can use it. We're not sure this was the most exciting performance overall, but it was easily one the most jaw-dropping vocal performances. Alas, there are so many vocalists it's really hard to stand out.
(ventriloquist) Did we know Darci could sing Italian opera? That's what she had Petunia break out this time around, and it was an incredible range on display. We would have preferred a little more banter and jokes before the singing, but the echo effect was also very nicely managed. She continues to mature as a vocalist and a ventriloquist and the combination is just so crazy to watch.
(sand art) Once again, Kseniya knows how to pull on the heartstrings emotionally through her mesmerizing sand art, though this story wasn't as fully realized as her last one. If she'd have had a little more time perhaps. In fact, imagine how awesome it would be to watch her tell a story with unlimited time to tell it as she sees fit. She is a visionary in a very unique art form and someone that is always awesome to watch.
(singer) It's amazing how easy he can make opera look, when obviously it's anything but. Paul is truly a remarkable talent and while his song showcased his vocal ability perfectly, did it have that wow factor to win over American audiences? That's the real challenge and Americans are kind of weird. Still, on a night filled with amazing vocalists, Paul did what he does to stand out and demand to be noticed among them, but there are also other talents here. Man, what a tough night.
(singer) Once again, Susan Boyle proves why she took the world by storm the first time she hit the "Britain's Got Talent" stage. She brought what's effectively become her signature song in "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables." It wasn't quite as palpable this time because she's dealing with a different set of emotions coming in, but she is absolutely a powerhouse talent the show can be proud to be associated with.
(magician) While there was nothing "AGT" stalwarts haven't seen in his acts just yet -- it was all variations on his signature stunts -- it is no less mesmerizing watching Shin do what he does and we're no less closer to understanding how he does any of it. Perhaps we're feeling a little jaded as he just won, but we're not seeing that as a performance of winning again ... until he asked Howie to open his cup back at the dais. There he goes, taking it to the next level. Could he win? Maybe. Just maybe.
Brian Justin Crum
(singer) A very slickly orchestrated performance, Brian started off very subdued and slowly built to a towering crescendo on "Never Enough" from "The Greatest Showman." He said Broadway is his dream and he definitely has the vocals for it. He feels so natural and at home on these songs, so if he can bring stage presence and performance in a musical sense with that, he could do very well there. He did extremely well here, bringing one of the top performances of the night. It's going to be a close vote, we think.
(magician) "It's a great day to be alive!" Some magicians go for mysterious or cool or sexy. Jon Dorenbos goes for joyous and he absolutely is. His tricks this week harkened back to his very first audition way back in Season 11 and he connected absolutely everything. It was beautiful to watch from start to finish. He incorporated everyone, never stopped smiling and left absolutely everyone feeling good by the time he was finished.
You know what's not going to happen? Jon Dorenbos is not going to win this season, even though we've apparently decided that's exactly who should win. You have to admit, he'd put on one of the most fun Vegas acts you could ever imagine.
Our favorites include singers Brian Justin Crum, Susan Boyle and Paul Potts, while Shin Lim also creeps in there. Kseniya Simonova rounds out our Top 5, but we don't see her winning, either.
In fact, we're not sure we're on the same page as America at all. They love kid singers and they really loved that kid ventriloquist singer and both Angelica Hale and Darci Lynne really brought their A-game to the stage tonight.
It's really a crap shoot, but since we love the idea of probably embarrassing ourselves next week, we're going to make our predictions anyway. We think the Top 3 will be Brian Justin Crum, Susan Boyle and Shin Lim with Brian winning it all. But we hope we're wrong.
"America's Got Talent: The Champions" concludes next Monday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
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