The two-hour finale was filled with guest stars like George Lopez, Bishop Briggs, Pentatonix, Idina Menzel, Jordan Chiles, MyKayla Skinner, a slew of "AGT" alums and a special surprise for Sofia.
After an amazing finals that featured some of the best performances ever on this show, Terry Crews shared that this was the closest “America’s Got Talent” finale vote in the show’s history. No surprise.
It was also a night of superstar collaborations and duets, with appearances from George Lopez, Bishop Briggs, Idina Manzel, Pentatonix, Jordan Chiles and MyKayla Skinner. Add to that several “AGT” alums, and a big surprise for Sofia Vergara and it was already set to be a show.
We love the chance to see superstars, but as “AGT” fans, we love even more the opportunity to see the Top 10 hit the stage one more time alongside those famous faces. It’s bittersweet as it’s great to get more time to enjoy their talents, but for many, this could be the last time we see them.
Often, these bloated two-hour finales feel overstuffed, but with such a strong Top 10 lineup, this one really held it together really well. Each one was exciting to see perform again, and we enjoyed every moment -- okay, that’s a lie. There was one performance that was an absolute mess, but we’ll get to that soon enough.
Aside from the announcement of an incredibly deserving winner, the biggest moment of the night probably came when Sofia finally got revenge on Simon Cowell for his cruel prank during the auditions where he convinced her she’d shot him with a crossbow.
It was one of the funniest things we’ve ever seen -- we’re still laughing just thinking about it -- and about the best way possible to pull a prank on Simon.
Northwell Health Nurse Choir & Jimmie Herrod (w/ Idina Menzel)
Going toe to toe with Idina Menzel is no small task, and Jimmie proved why he is one of the best singers to ever grace the “AGT” stage, or any reality competition series. It’s just incredible how effortlessly he can hit incredible high notes, while also offering a rich texture. This song felt more natural on him than his actual finals performance, and he felt more connected to it. If this were an audition for a Broadway show, he’d get the part and then some!
Aidan Bryant & World Taekwondo Demonstration Team (w/ MyKayla Skinner & Jordan Chiles)
A big of a mess mashup on paper, and wouldn’t you know it was a bit of a mess on the screen as well. None of these acts -- aside from being physical and athletic -- mesh well together at all, and they didn’t even try to make something cohesive out of it. The best thing about it was that it was short.
Brooke Simpson (w/ Bishop Briggs)
This duet gave us a sense of what kind of an artist Brooke could be on the charts, though we don’t think Bishop’s vibe is exactly suited to her voice. Nevertheless, Brooke brought a lot of conviction and passion to her performance, as she does every time she hits the stage. She’s a remarkable talent with a compelling stage presence. Can she fulfill her dreams outside of this show -- it’s so hard to do.
This was a cute meeting between Gina and the man who inspired her into stand-up. They chatted about the superstitions of Latin culture, and then Gina decided to offer herself retroactive good luck by cutting George’s hair. And they actually did it live on television. His locks were a bit long -- Covid style -- and she did appear to know what she was doing. It was more surprising than funny, but still fun.
Idina returned to the stage with her own original song bringing more of a rock edge to her vocal and performance. And wouldn’t you know it, she’s incredible like this, too. One of the biggest talents in the world right now, she commanded the stage. We have a feeling had she decided to go with a rock or pop career rather than on the stage, she would have owned that, too.
Sofia’s Sweet Revenge
Simon really did prank Sofia incredibly well during the auditions, convincing her momentarily that she’d shot him with a crossbow. Since then, she’d been plotting her revenge, and she did it in the perfect way. With “AGT” heading to the Luxor in November, Sofia commissioned busts of all of the judges, with Simon getting a special bust that was … well, we’ll go with memorable. She even hired an actor to pretend to be the director of the event, and brought the rest of the judges (and Terry) in on it. All in all, it was a great success and a very funny prank, with Simon’s predictable horror at his final look. Finally, he couldn’t resist anymore and had to call it out as absolutely terrible. “Revenge is delicious!”
Mat and Dustin played well off of one another, with Dustin clearly fanboying a little bit -- which is understandable as Mat was the first-ever magician to win “AGT.” Their interactive stunt with surprise guest Rico Rodriguez of “Modern Family” fame was another exciting stunt, and delivered more wow and magic than even Dustin’s finals performance. It was also another feel-good moment, with Dustin proving why he’s one of the most charismatic and inspiring magicians out there right now.
Josh Blue (w/ AGT Comedy Stars)
With several comedians coming in second, Josh ran down a who’s who of “AGT” comedy royalty in his search for advice on what to do for his finale performance, and it was definitely a lot of fun to see them all again, staying within the personality of their original time on the show. Piff the Magic Dragon probably had the best advice for him, though, telling him to lose. He’s certainly done well enough since coming in second. And honestly, Josh’s comedy career is probably going to see a boost regardless of what happens. But -- he could well be the first winner. We predicted as much, and we’re never wrong! Except when we are.
Victory Brinker (w/ Pentatonix)
Another odd pairing that didn’t quite work, as Victory’s vocals did not work as well on this song, or in harmony with the a cappella group. She stayed in her lane smartly throughout the show, and this performance was exactly why. She sounded shaky at the top, though that could have been nerves and excitement, and never really felt as comfortable as she usually is on the stage. Plus, she didn’t really get any moments to shine with the powerful instrument she has.
After Tuesday night’s performance, we created two Top 5 lists. One was our ranking of the night’s performances, and one was our predictions for how America would vote. Four of the acts sat on both lists, with us actually being so bold as to think America would pick the same Top 2 we did.
As a refresher, these were our Top 5 picks, in order from fifth to first: World Taekwondo, Demonstration Team, Aidan Bryant, Northwell Health Nurse Choir, Dustin Tavella and Josh Blue. We had Brooke Simpson in our personal Top 5,but didn’t think she’d make it.
That said, we were pretty hard on all the singers this season, though we do think many were outperformed. But singing is something all of America understands and appreciates, giving them always a bit of an edge. So did more of them creep into your Top 5?
FIrst up, Terry Crews made it clear that only one comedian advanced by putting Gina Brillon and Josh Blue up front together. By our rankings and estimates, we’d give this one to Josh as he’s had a more consistent run, and was laugh-out-loud funny Tuesday night. It should be his, and it absolutely was. Josh Blue picked up that first spot.
Jimmie Herrod and Léa Kyle were next to face the music, by which we mean that dramatic drone that lingers. Considering we had them in our bottom two rankings -- not a testament on their talent but rather the breadth of talent in the finals -- this result alone was going to throw our predictions out the window. Unless it was one of those cruel fakeouts and neither made it.
Nah, this one would go to Jimmie, right? His voice really is beyond description, and yet once again, we were caught off guard by America’s (and the judges’) love of Léa Kyle, who took that second spot. And to think, we had her dead last in our rankings.
Next up, Aidan Bryant and World Taekwondo Demonstration Team hit the stage together, with the pairing creating an audible sound of shock and awe from the audience. We had both acts in our personal Top 5 and predicted Top 5, so is this the spot Léa snagged.
We thought both acts gave powerful and moving performances Tuesday night, but Aidan stepped up his game by a factor of 100 or more (and we’re not exaggerating), so we’d have to give the edge to him on this one. America agreed, landing Aidan Bryant in the Top 5.
As it turns out, we definitely underestimated the appeal of singers to America, as the next pairing saw Victory Brinker and Brooke Simpson stride to the front of the stage together. Now, we had Brooke in our Top 5, but we had a sneaking suspicion that Victory would be too irresistible to pass up as we know how “AGT” fans love kid singers.
We’ve ribbed the show for this a lot over the years, but then they continue to do extremely well. Maybe it’s time we let all that go, as this time America agreed with our initial rankings and put Brooke Simpson into the Top 5. She absolutely deserves it because she really is that compelling.
And that left the unlikely pairing of Northwell Health Nurse Choir and Dustin Tavella. All season, we’ve been terrified that the fact that the Nurse Choir is made up of, well, nurses would propel them forward even perhaps beyond their talent. They’re a good enough choir, but we’ve seen stronger. And based on the season, Dustin brought much more dynamism to his stage performances.
We were sweating bullets that the compelling back story of this choir would propel them ahead of our second-favorite act of the night -- after predicting that boht would make it. Dustin is one of the best acts we’ve seen on this show in years for its combination of storytelling and magic, and one tailor-made for Vegas. America saw it, too, propelling Dustin Tavella deservedly forward.
Impressively, other than Léa Kyle, our personal Top 4 all advanced into America’s Top 5. That’s not bad. We’re clearly more on the same page than we give you credit for. We love you, America. Let’s see how we do in the final rankings!
Looking at this Top 5, going on our personal rankings where we put her in 10th place, we just can’t see Léa Kyle ranked higher than any of these other acts. America agreed, and it was the end of the road for Léa Kyle. Nevertheless, this is an incredible finish for a quick-change artist, and should open doors for her to expand what she does. Considering how new she is to it, the sky is the limit as to how much more she can grow.
Heading into this one, our preliminary rankings put Brooke in fourth place and that feels right. She’s an incredible vocalist who brought more passion to the stage than anyone, but this is a variety show and as good as she was, it didn’t blow us away as much as the other acts. But did America agree? They actually did, even as we worried it might be Aidan Bryant.
Brooke Simpson did what she set out to do, representing for her tribe and Native American culture. She slayed on stage with Bishop Briggs. Now comes the hard part, as it’s so hard to make it in the music industry from a reality show. But with that voice, that power, that passion and that story, Brooke could just defy the odds.
We kind of love that our Top 3 is America’s Top 3. So far, we couldn’t agree more with how the vote has been playing out, which should mean that this is the position Aidan Bryant actually does go out. It’s not a testament to what he brought to the stage from us as he was absolutely incredible. And honestly, we wouldn’t even be that upset to be wrong, he’s that good.
But we were upset to be wrong, because Aidan coming in higher than this meant the end of the road for Josh Blue, who we really thought had the chance to break the comedy curse and become the first comic to win this show. There’s been very few as good as him, and at least we can be happy the high profile should help boost his career as he’s so funny.
With Josh out of the running, we were actually hoping to see Aidan Bryant land in this slot, though both he and Dustin Tavella really delivered top-notch performances. Based on Tuesday night alone, Aidan was probably stronger, but Dustin has been more consistently incredible.
Before revealing the winner, Terry doubled down on his earlier statement, revealing that this Top 2 result was the closest vote in the history of the show, which is easy to see. Both of these acts are world-class and absolutely deserving of that Vegas show. So which did America choose? It was a second-place finish, but with head held high, for Aidan Bryant, who has such a bright future ahead of him.
Beyond delivering magic, Dustin Tavella delivers inspiration and hope. He’s forged such a special identity as a magician by incorporating his life and his family into what he does, we said on Tuesday we could watch him perform for two hours easily. Hell, we could listen to him tell us stories of his life for two hours with the magic as a bonus.
What a deserving winner, someone who moved us from the beginning. We boldly predicted Josh Blue would win this competition, with Dustin landing in a very worthy second place finish. But we’re okay with being wrong, because before we decided to go bold, Dustin seemed the most obvious choice. Even better, this means we’ll get to see him come back to the show in the years head, as well as likely headlining his own show in no time flat even beyond the upcoming “AGT” show.