How do you pick? I don’t know. There were 10 talented performers left, and on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, they all performed during the AGT Finals. Simon Cowell and the other judges — Heidi Klum, Mel. B and Howie Mandel, along with host Tyra Banks — have watched weeks and weeks of amazing acts, seen uplifting stories, watched as contestants cried when they didn’t think they could do this. But here they were, on national TV. Darci Lynn Farmer, Angelica Hale, Light Balance, and Diavolo really stood out, but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s up to America, who gets to vote on the winner.
America’s Got Talent, season 12, episode 23, Finals, 8 p.m. Tuesday September 19, 2017
Angelica Hale, singer
The incredibly cute 10-year-old is a singer who overcame pneumonia that it ruined a kidney and she almost died. But her mother donated a kidney to keep her alive. For the judge cuts, she did Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys and it earned her a Golden Buzzer. She clearly belong, a little package with a huge voice and a presence well beyond her years. She did it again in the AGT finals, leading the show off with xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, showcasing a range that’s hard for experienced singers four times as experienced to conquer. She certainly set the bar. The judges gave a standing ovation, and Heidi said: “You’re only 4-feet tall but you’re a giant.” And Simon added: “I am actually …god-smacked.”
Chase Goehring, 21, musician
It’s tough on musicians on these shows. You have to separate yourself and be really original. Chase Goehring, a 21-year-old singer/songwriter from a small town in Tennessee, has blown originality out of the water. He’s done nothing but perform original songs, and they’ve all been excellent, a combination of scat, rap and song that is not what you’re used to hearing. Someone’s going to sign him to a record contract. But remember, optics? Hiw much they matter? Simon and Heidi stood up; Howie and Mel. B didn’t. “I bloody loved it,” Simon said. “This song was brilliant.”
Sara Carson and her dog, Hero
Simon’s show crush has made it all the way to the AGT final. Remember, he saved Sara and Hero during their first performance and has been a staunch supporter ever since. Sara and Hero were a TON better during judges cuts, and during the AGT semi-finals, they were back with another fun act. So here, in the finals, you can’t afford mistakes, and Sara and her act made a few. Every judge (except Howie) stood. “This was honestly, incredible,” Simon said. Mel B. noted that “it wasn’t perfect,” and that’s not good when there’s so much talent in the competition.
Diavolo, Architect in Motion
Diablo is a very large performance group that does a combination of dance and gymnastics on a moving structure. That does not go near far enough in describing how amazing the act was. The first time we saw them, the dancers jumped on an arch-looking structure that moved side-to-side, and the dancers took turns dancing and jumping. For their second act, the troupe said in preparation some members suffered some broken bones. The live show was just as crazy, as they danced and pranced inside a large moving wheel. So we could expect more insanity during the AGT semi-finals — and that’s what we got. Now here, in the AGT finals, they stepped it up another notch, and showed why, of all of the acts left, are the one that has the most Vegas-like feel. The judges stood. The crowd cheered. “Anyone who owns a casino … in Vegas, book these guys,” Simon said.
Evie Claire, singer
There is no more touching story in this entire competition than Evie Claire. When she started this journey, the 13-year-old singer, she was signing for her dad, who was battling stage four colon cancer, and when she sings, she sings for him. She sang for him again tonight, but this time, is was a song filled with sorrow. Her father died just days before she was to take the stage in the AGT finals, and I have no idea how someone so young had the strength and composure to do what she did. She did, “What a wonderful world,” which is an amazing brave song choice — and perfect. “This was a perfect tribute to your dad,” Simon said. And it was.
The 26-year-old funny man has been honing his craft for eight years and at one point was homeless as he pursued his craft. Preacher Larson has been consistently outstanding and original, a ball of energy who attacks every joke with the gusto of a child eating candy. Tuesday’s AGT semi-final was no different, as Larson was his manic, side-splitting self. Same in the finals. This time, he seemed more in control and sure of himself. He spoke slower, you could hear the jokes and his was animated in a good way. He did serve the best for last. “I think you should win this,” Howie said.
Kechi Okwuchi, singer
Evie Clair is sweet and heartbreaking; Mandy Harvey is amazing and has overcome tremendous adversity. But Kechi wins the adversity award — On October 29, 2006, an ADC Airlines plane went down in Abuda, Nigeria. Some 107 people died, and there were just two survivors. One was Kechi Okwuchi, a 16-year-old girl who was coming back from her boarding school. Now living in Houston, she’s sailed through the competition and during the semi-final round, she really found her stride with “Don’t worry about me.” This time she sang, over and over again, I am a conqueror, and that she is. “That wasn’t a song. That was an anthem,” Simon said.
Darci Lynne Farmer, ventriloquist
Whether she wins or not, 12-year-old ventriloquist, Darci Lynne Farmer has one hell of a career in front of her. She’s funny, with a polished act, and she better with her mouth closed than most people do with it opened. She also makes her own puppets and thinks up the stories behind them. She had a Golden Buzzer performance with Summertime, followed by a tremendous Who’s Lovin’ You. This time, she did a skit around, “You make me feel like a natural woman,” all for Simon, and it was spectacular. If she doesn’t get through to the final it’ll be a major upset. “This was brilliant,” Simon said. And she was in the finals, doing A little help from my friends, with two of her puppets, and it was drop dead amazing. Everybody stood for this one. “You are just hands down incredible,” Mel B. “You could win this.” Yes, she sure can.
Mandy Harvey, singer
Mandy Harvey has taken this competition by storm. By now, we all know she lost all of her hearing when she was 18, when she got sick and the nerves in her ears deteriorated, and she finally went deaf. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing her music dreams — she’d been singing since she was 4-years-old. Now, she feels the music through vibration, and at the age of 29, she’s everything — sweet, strong, and more importantly, a tremendous singer and writer. For the AGT finals, she kept singing This time I’m going to make it. She’s already done that. Did she do enough to win the competition? “Seriously incredible,” Simon said. “It was amazing.” But Mel B. may have provided the kiss of death when she said, “tonight wasn’t my favorite performance …” We’ll see how it all works out.
Light Balance Dance Group, from the Ukraine
They came here for a better life in America, and now, they are on the edge of winning $1 million and performing in Las Vegas. They are, arguably, the most original act left in the show. These guys from the Ukraine use lights to create a funky techno display that has routinely blown everyone’s mind. And they did it again! What a way to end the show. They were tremendous. “This was incredible,” Simon said.