The final of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” on February 11 will see 12 acts take to the stage. Five of these got the Golden Buzzer at their audition. Another five won the superfans vote. And there are two wild cards, who were added to the roster after not making the cut initially.
The five acts who were singled out by the judges for special treatment courtesy of the Golden Buzzer are: singers Susan Boyle, Angelica Hale and Kechi Okwuchi; daredevils Deadly Games; and sand artist Kseniya Simonova.
The five acts who won the run-offs are: singers Brian Justin Crum, Paul Potts and Cristina Ramos; stand-up comedian Preacher Lawson and magician Shin Lim.
The two wildcards are are ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer, who won “AGT” in 2017, and magician Jon Dorenbos. They face off against the two acts that edged them out with the superfans. Farmer fell short to Ramos, the rock opera singer who won “Spanish Got Talent.” And Dorenbos was passed by Potts, who sang opera to take the title at the very first “Britain’s Got Talent” back in 2007.
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8:03 p.m. – The first performance of the night was from Spain’s Cristina Ramos. For her final song she promised something special which turned out to be an operatic opening leading in to the Blondie classic “Call Me.” The glam rock rendition included interludes of more opera vocals that truly made the cover more unique than ones we’ve heard previously on other singing shows. It was a stellar opening to the finals that Simon Cowell said was an “insanely good” vocal.
8:10 p.m. – Preacher Lawson was up next, representing for all of the series comedians because he was the only one to make it to these finals. Tonight his set cycled through jokes about alcohol use and his previous career working at a gym which gave him the opportunity to poke fun at men who don’t do leg day regularly and women who take every workout lightly. But the highlight was, of course, the end when he went into hulk mode and ripped his own shirt off! Howie Mandel pointed out that as a comedian Preacher delivers on multiple levels, sentiment echoed by the other judges on the panel.
8:21 p.m. – 2017 AGT winner Darci Lynne Farmer took the stage after the other finalist she beat two years ago. For this performance she partnered with puppet Petunia, her lucky charm that helped her win the first time. Together they continued what appeared to be the theme of the night, opera. Simon called the Italian opera song Darci Lynne’s best performance ever and Howie lauded the fact that she managed to hide her ability to sing opera through her entire original season.
8:27 p.m. – Heidi Klum‘s Golden Buzzer act, Deadly Games, was next and they were determined to be even more dangerous than before. To do so they included synchronized knife-throwing and dodging, pegging an apple on the head with a crossbow and quick tosses of knives and shots of a crossbow at a spinning target. During the performance Howie mentioned to Mel B that they seemed a little off tonight, and that was before they upped the ante by asking the judges to all come to the stage for their final trick.
8:35 p.m. – For this final trick the judges and Terry Crews all held balloons in front of them in a line in order for a crossbow to be show through all of them at once. Luckily the trick worked, to which Heidi squealed with delight in acknowledgement that they now know firsthand the position that they’re in every time they perform. Mel said that the hiccups earlier in the performance worked in their favor because they raised the stakes both for them and for the judges in that final trick.
8:39 p.m. – The danger act was followed by Simon’s Golden Buzzer act, Kechi. Tonight she sang Sia‘s “Opportunity,” a ballad that spoke directly to the position that she and every contestant on the show is in when they’re on the AGT stage. The crowd roared in a standing ovation following her performance and through a beaming smile Simon called her one of his favorite contestants and a star. Mel was the only judge to put forth a negative critique, saying that she got lost in the song.
8:49 p.m. – Prior to taking the stage Brian Justin Crum declared that his journey on AGT Champions was a chance to return to his dream and his roots by singing Broadway songs. Tonight he chose “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman,” a movie musical that has spawned many performances across AGT and other singing shows. Mel called the performance a “massive” and “proper slam dunk.” Simon said that he’s managed to redeem himself from his first season and that tonight’s performance could actually change his life.
8:58 p.m. – The first of two magicians in the finals was up next. Jon Dorenbos used the judges as his assistants in a trick that anticipated the correct random selections of each judge. That was pretty cool, but the real clincher was when he used all four of those selections as callbacks to his past performances on the show where each of those judges had previously selected the same exact phrases that they randomly chose today. Simon told Jon that he blew the roof off with this trick and Howie emphasized how great of a wild card Jon turned out to be.
9:10 p.m. – Angelica Hale was next to perform with her rendition of James Arthur‘s “Impossible.” The song provided her the chance to show off how big her voice can get, even for such a young singer. The judges were highly complimentary of Angelica’s vocal, but moreso admire her drive and fight to return to the show in order to win.
9:20 p.m. – Kseniya Simonova, Terry’s Golden Buzzer, told another story through her sand art tonight. Unlike last time, she made the performance more dynamic by using and synchronizing musical and voiceover cues to her drawing. Heidi called Kseniya a “true artist” and appreciated the emotion she showed as she created the story. Simon referred to the talent as one of the most “beautiful and creative” acts he’s seen on the show.
9:31 p.m. – And now back to our regularly scheduled programming of opera music. BGT winner Paul Potts was next to show off his incredibly powerful voice, accompanied by a string band. His performance had the judges on their feet even before it concluded and they barely sat down in time to give their critiques. Howie called it “perfection,” Mel admired how he makes it seem effortless and Simon gave him good chances at winning this season.
9:42 p.m. – Up next was last season’s AGT winner Shin Lim with his latest display of card magic. In the series of tricks he had Howie and Terry on stage with him to write their names on randomly selected cards that he used to move in and out of bags, his mouth, hands, pockets and literally through thin air. His illusion work was so impressive that Howie and Terry, sitting right there at Shin’s table, had their jaws hit the floor. In a final display of magic, Shin managed to get Howie to open the thermos at his seat on the dais that had his and Terry’s signed cards inside! All in all the judges were once again blown away by Shin’s work.
9:53 p.m. – BGT icon Susan Boyle was the final finalist to perform, singing one of her best known covers “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables.” The judges and crowd had smiles smeared across their faces from the very first note, I’m assuming because of the instant joy of seeing Susan sing in person. In their critiques the judges laid the truth out, that Susan is indeed an icon in series history and is rightfully the final performance of finalists in the Champions final.
NEXT WEEK: The 12 finalists will find out which of them is the ultimate champion based on the decisions of the panel of superfans.