Monday’s episode of America’s Got Talent: The Champions placed the power of the Golden Buzzer in the hands of Simon Cowell, who chose to buzz… with his heart.
So, which two acts were put through to compete against Susan Boyle, Preacher Lawson, Deadly Games, Cristina Ramos, Angelica Hale and Paul Potts in the Champions finale? Let’s break down this week’s auditions and find out:
1. ISSY SIMPSON | Combining her two favorite things, “magic and reading,” the pint-sized runner-up of Britain’s Got Talent Season 11 managed to successfully predict multiple words and cards chosen by the judges. And when she wasn’t blowing the judges’ minds with her mesmerizing tricks, she was tickling their funny bones with her quick wit. AGT was right to play Little Mix’s “Black Magic” after Simpson’s performance, because that’s exactly what this was.
2. THE TEXAS TENORS | Even without David Hasselhoff around to toot their collective horn, these country/classical crooners — who placed fourth in AGT Season 4 — managed to enchant the judges with a harmonious, multi-lingual performance of the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody.” Heidi Klum loved their schmaltz, while Cowell told them they’ve gotten even better with age.
3. DREW LYNCH | The inspiration stand-up comic, who developed a stutter as the result of a sports-related injury, made a triumphant return to the stage since placing second in AGT Season 10. In fact, the judges enjoyed his jokes so much, they unanimously agreed that his routine was “too short.” (Well, most of the judges. Cowell straight-up told Lynch that this wasn’t the best he’s seen from him.)
4. PAUL ZERDIN | The winner of AGT Season 10 attempted something he said he’s never seen in a ventriloquist act: a duet (of sorts) with his puppet pal Sam. Backed by Zerdin’s surprisingly impressive beat boxing, Sam hummed the tune to Suzanne Vega’s “Tom’s Diner.” It was fun and original, but I feel like there was a little too much build-up for what ended up being a fairly simple trick.
5. MOONLIGHT BROTHERS | An interesting change of pace, this dancing duo — which won Season 4 of Denmark’s Got Talent — amused the crowd with a funny, high-energy act. It wasn’t anything amazing, but it was fun while it lasted.
6. TAPE FACE | He’s baaa-aaack! Arguably the weirdest contestant in AGT history, the Season 11 finalist used his unique brand of eccentricity to turn Mandel into a DJ and Terry Crews into a… stripper? He even surprised Crews with a special Golden Buzzer, though he wasn’t quite lucky enough to receive one himself.
7. KECHI OKWUCHI | Well, it doesn’t get much more inspirational than this. A finalist from Season 12 of AGT, Okwuchi — a burn victim whose experience on AGT helped her stop feeling like a “survivor” and start feeling like a “singer” — woke up the crowd with a powerful rendition of Calum Scott’s “You Are the Reason.” After she received praise from the other judges, Cowell crushed Okwuchi’s spirits by telling her “didn’t like it.” Wait for it… he loved it! So much so, in fact, that he gave her the coveted Golden Buzzer.
8. THE PROFESSIONAL REGURGITATOR | Just when you thought this guy couldn’t get any more disgusting… he started taking requests. The Professional Regurgitator, who has appeared on eight separate Talent shows around the globe, earned the season’s second “X” from Cowell, who simply couldn’t handle his nauseating antics. (I don’t blame him, but I feel like it was risky to scare this guy with a buzzer while he was in the middle of swallowing a tiny blade, no?)
9. BRIAN JUSTIN CRUM | Two years after placing fourth on AGT Season 11, this inspirational singer returned to the Talent stage armed with the most ludicrously dramatic version of Elton John’s “Your Song” that you will ever hear in your life. It was an incredible performance that got everyone, Cowell included, on their feet. (Come to think of it, he would have been good to have around last night as an understudy for Roger in Fox’s Rent.)
10. KENICHI ENIBA | The winner of AGT Season 8 wrapped things up with a wacky dance routine, complete with a tiny robotic dog, a giant robotic villain and… well, just a lot of robots, really. And don’t ask me how Eniba made it look as though one of the robots cut him in half — this guy is a wizard.
With Kechi Okwuchi already through to the finale, thanks to the magic of the Golden Buzzer, it was up to the “states” to fill the other vacant slot. Tape Face and Drew Lynch (a tie!) finished in third place, followed by Paul Zerdin in second. Under a hail of confetti, Brian Justin Crum finished on top.
Your thoughts on this week’s AGT: Champions? Vote for your personal favorite acts in our poll, then drop a comment below.