With only one week left before America’s Got Talent crowns its champion of Champions, the final 10 acts (plus two wild card picks!) took the stage on Monday to earn some last-minute love from the 50 states.
This week’s episode featured operatic rocker Cristina Ramos, muscular comedian Preacher Lawson, singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer, danger duo Deadly Games, inspirational songstress Kechi Okwuchi, Broadway belter Brian Justin Crum, footballer-turned-magician Jon Dorenbos, pint-sized powerhouse Angelica Hale, sand artist Kseniya Simonova, golden vocalist Paul Potts, mind master Shin Lim and iconic singer Susan Boyle.
Ramos got the party started with an incredible take on Blondie’s “Call Me,” complete with glass-shattering operatics, impressive power belting and even a sexy costume change. And speaking of sexy costume changes, Lawson followed Ramos with a hysterical routine that ended with him ripping his shirt off, literally leaving Mel B speechless. (“Go to the next person!”) Farmer then became the first wild card to take the stage, proving she was the right choice by wowing the judges with a breathtaking operatic performance — and via her rabbit puppet, no less.
Then came the knife throwing. So much knife throwing. Deadly Games had the entire audience cringing and screaming — when they could bare to look, that is — as Anna strapped herself to a spinning wheel and allowed Alfredo to chuck a series of sharp metal objects at her. You know an act is successful when it ends with Heidi Klum asking, “Can we talk about our sweaty armpits right now?”
In a dramatic change of pace, Okwuchi took the stage for a stirring rendition of Sia’s “Opportunity,” one of the few good things to come out of that garbage 2014 Annie remake. Not to be outdone, however, Crum followed this up with ballad-of-the-year “Never Enough” from The Greatest Showman. (Did he kill it? Absolutely. But should this overdone song also be retired from all reality competition shows? Yes, please.)
Dorenbos, the show’s other wild card, received a standing ovation merely by entering the auditorium. He immediately launched into his act, soliciting some assistance from the judges — two of whom won’t be back for Season 14 — and getting everyone back on their feet by the end. Hale followed this up with a powerhouse cover of “Impossible,” showing off her voice’s incredible range.
Simonova’s return to the AGT stage was even more emotional than anticipated, moving the judges with a powerful sand story and a timeless message: “love always wins.” Ditto for Potts, who once again stunned the crowd with his golden pipes, and Lim, who came prepared with yet another mystifying act that left the judges slack-jawed.
Then came what I’m calling the big moment of the night: Boyle recreated her famous Britain’s Got Talent audition with a stunning rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables — only no one underestimated her this time around. Cowell even offered her an apology (of sorts) for his initial doubt. “I have goosebumps on my goosebumps,” he said. “That really took me back. … I remember vividly how disgusting I was the day before you sang … and what happened afterward.”
Which of Monday’s performances impressed you the most? Vote for your act of choice below, then drop a comment with your hopes for next week’s finale.