"AGT" winner Kodi Lee was just one of several guest stars on hand to help pad the show before the big reveal, including Shin Lim, Travis Barker, KISS and more!
From ten to one, after six weeks of intense competition it all comes down to the season finale of "America's Got Talent: The Champions." Only one act emerged as the champion, or as Simon put it, "the best of the best" -- but was it the right act?
We had plenty of time to sweat it out, as it wouldn't be a two-hour "AGT" results show without plenty of guest stars and return performances from some of the most memorable acts of the season, including all of the finalists.
Shin Lim and Colin Cloud brought their unique combination of magician and mentalist for an incredible routine, while the most emotionally breathtaking featured the surprise return of an act who didn't even make this season's finals.
Other guest stars included Lindsey Stirling, Travis Barker and this past summer's winner Kodi Lee, who stunned yet again. Oh, and KISS showed up to kick off the show ... for some reason.
But all that was just build-up to the big moment of the night, and with so many incredible acts and worthy finalists, it would be impossible to be disappointed or angry at the results? Right?
Who do I think I am? you ask. Well, I spent nearly a decade of my life sweating and bleeding to the music as a dancer. From a young boy learning a shuffle-ball-change to performing with the St. Louis Ballet Company, I experienced the ups and downs of one of the most difficult physically demanding sports on the planet. During this time, I was also a member of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra, as well as a gymnast, writer and cartoonist. I had a lot more energy in my younger years. And I've spent the last sixteen years analyzing and critiquing reality competition shows for various media publications. I've got this.
Do you think Simon Cowell is the huge KISS fan? These guys have been trotted out quite a bit in recent years to kick off reality show finales with this same song, so we all know what it's going to be by now. They're consummate professionals and they've played this song literally thousands of times. We did kind of love Paul Stanley asking the audience to sing along, considering most are way younger than their usual crowd and probably don't know them or the track.
Hans, Marcelito Pomoy, Boogie Storm, Duo Transcend & Sandou Trio Russian Bar
One of the more unique combinations of the night, Mercelito did his dual-voice thing on Queen's "We Are the Champions" as Duo Transcend and Sandou Trio Russian Bar performed separately and dangerously. THe oohs and aahs of the crowd showed how exciting it was (even as neither act challenged themselves too much). And there was just a bit too much going on. Oh, and Boogie Storm was there, too. Hans introduced the act and proved he's great when he's just being his over-the-top personality.
A cute pre-taped segment with JJ hosting his own late-night talk show and interview the judges and Terry Crews. It wasn't as funny as it could have been, but we did enjoy Heidi trying to explain her joke to him and JJ tormenting Simon by eating a cupcake in front of him. This kid has such a natural charm, we'd probably watch him hosting a talk show.
V.Unbeatable (w/ Travis Barker)
How do you make the high-flying antics of V.Unbeatable more exciting? Maybe try adding a drummer? Travis Barker. It was a lot of the same types of throws and flips we've seen from them, and Travis didn't really add much to it after all (except for the kid stealing his drumstick as he flew over his head), so we'd like to talk about how much the dancing in front (i.e. the distraction) to hide the setups in the back has improved over the past year. They used to lack synchronicity and consistency, but they were polished and so tight tonight, which elevates the whole act tremendously.
Kseniya didn't even make the finals, but as Terry's Golden Buzzer, she clearly made it to finale night anyway, alongside two finalists. It was the most incredible and powerful moment of the night. Angelina and Tyler were sublime in accompaniment, creating a gorgeous soundtrack to the powerful imagery Kseniya created with her sand art. Seriously, this was a championship level performance from all three and easily one of the most poignant moments of the entire season. It was that good.
The Silhouettes (w/ Lindsey Stirling)
Another reality darling -- and former "AGT" contestant -- at least Lindsey gets to perform different material each time she hits one of these stages, or dance, in the case of "Dancing with the Stars." The Silhouettes went with the tried-and-true military story, this one about the bonds of famiy with a violin connection. We'd have loved a twist where the little girl grew up to be Lindsey, but this was a step-up from their actual competition finale performance, which is a shame. Still, they're very interesting to watch, even if there were a few minor hiccups.
These two have already partnered with a show in Las Vegas and you can see how beautifully they've combined what they do so incredibly well. This was just a stunningly complex combination of magics that worked out stunningly. The only thing that could have been better is if they'd found a way to incorporate Howie's butchering of Justin Bieber's name, or if Justin himself had showed up. Still, this was incredible to watch.
Every. Single. Time. It is incredible every single time that Kodi does what he does so effortlessly. His voice is so pure and rich and pitch-perfect, and he's doing it all from memory. He's just an amazing talent and was as much a gift to this franchise as winning the show over the summer was for him and his future. If anything, he sounds more polished, more passionate, and more confident than ever.
Last week, we ranked the Top 10 as to how we thought the votes should go, while at the same time acknowledging that there was no way America's Superfans were going to award a danger act with the top prize.
That never seems to work out. And so, we made our prediction as to who we thought the superfans would pick (V.Unbeatable) instead as they tend to like singers, dancers and big flashy performances. But were we right?
We were feeling pretty good about our Top 5 going into the results. Terry kicked things off by pairing Boogie Storm and Duo Transcend, which should have been a lock for us as only Simon seems to like Boogie. And it was, as Duo Transcend was the first act into the Top 5.
Next, it was time for Hans and V.Unbeatable to square off, which quickly made us two for two. Of course, it was V.Unbeatable. The next pairing was obvious as well, as there was no way Alexa Lauenburger was going to beat American fan-favorite Tyler Butler-Figueroa.
Marcelito Pomoy was brought up with Angelina Jordan, and in our rankings, we had her just miss our Top 5. American agreed, as Marcelito Pomoy took the fourth spot, leaving just two acts remaining: The Silhouettes and Sandou Trio Russian Bar.
We had Sandou in there, but this was the one pairing we could not confidently predict. Luckily, we wound up going five for five as Sandou Trio Russian Bar took that last spot.
So would our pick (Duo Transcend) win, or would our prediction for America's pick (V.Unbeatable) take it ... or someone else entirely? Yes, we've given ourselves two chances to be 100 percent right!
5th Place: While it wasn't the total victory they were looking for, we hope Sandou Trio Russian Bar (who we had in fourth) will see this as a successful redemption journey for them. It was an incredible journey and clearly their unique act resonated with crowds, so they have a lot to be proud of.
4th Place: In a swap, we had Marcelito Pomoy in our fifth place slot, but he rose to fourth with the Superfans. He has such a unique talent, it's almost hard to figure out how to market him commercially, but he is someone special and hopefully this can be the next step in him achieving his dreams.
3rd Place: After missing out on the Top 5 over this past summer, Tyler Butler-Figueroa should continue to be proud of himself for doing even better against even stiffer competition. Clearly a fan-favorite, his playing has continued to improve and he showcased a lot of diversity these past two weeks. He's going to be just fine out there!
2nd Place: Our favorite act, we're actually a little shocked that America put Duo Transcend so high. The Superfans have shown a willingness to stray from more traditional acts that voters on the parent show. They are worthy runners-up, and we hope this result is a sign that America will continue to embrace more esoteric talents.
1st Place: We had them in third, but we've never been as enamored with V.Unbeatable as the judges or audiences. And clearly the Superfans were loving every minute of what they did and do. We've no doubt they will go on to have a huge career, and put on great stage shows. They seem like genuinely good people who deserve a shot at a better life, and after these back-to-back "AGT" appearances, it should certainly happen for them.
You can check out their winning moment below, and look for "America's Got Talent" Season 15 this summer: