“America’s Got Talent” revealed the final five acts moving into next week’s finals during Wednesday’s intense live results show which aired on NBC. Angelica Hale, Mandy Harvey, Light Balance, Kechi and Diavolo advanced to next week’s show while Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer winner Christian Guardino and dazzling young dance artist Merrick Hanna were among the biggest elimination surprises. Ten acts are left to battle it out for the title. Who are the strongest contenders to win the top prize?
The Season 12 Bar is Set High
Season 12 has arguably seen some of the most talented, eclectic set of acts in series history. This week’s elimination round was exceptionally intense. It was rough to see talented teen vocalist Christian Guardino and creative young danger Merrick Hanna leave the competition. Let's hope both of these amazing artists find entertainment industry success!
The 10 acts left fighting for the AGT $1 million grand prize are: Singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer, singer-songwriter/guitarist Chase Goehring, singer-songwriter/ukuleleist Mandy Harvey, comedian Preacher Lawson, electric dance troupe Light Balance, acrobatic dance troupe Diavolo, singer Angelica Hale, dog act Sara and Hero, singer Kechi, and singer Evie Clair.
These acts all ooze talent and entertainment appeal. Can anything give a single act an edge moving forward?
Originality Could Make a Difference
Last year’s "America's Got Talent" winner Grace VanderWaal grabbed America’s attention with her bubbly, optimistic attitude and her unique tone and totally original song performances. At 12, she claimed the top prize and scored a record deal. She’s since turned 13, has already won a Next Big Thing Teen Choice Award and is heading out on her first tour. America could easily award originality on AGT this year as well.
Like VanderWaal, Mandy Harvey and Chase Goehring have performed only original songs. This is impressive and speaks to their creative strength. Goehring’s audition song “Hurt” addressed abusive relationships and drew widespread social media acclaim. However, he was recently saved from elimination. This may work against his odds of winning. He deserves a record deal either way.
Harvey’s song “Try” spoke to overcoming adversity, and as a deaf singer who defies reason by singing from memory, she continues to inspire viewers and listeners everywhere. She is also the first contender to use sign language while singing. Harvey has never been in danger of elimination and is arguably one of the strongest contenders for a win.
Meanwhile, dance troupes Light Balance and Diavolo each bring something totally different to the world of dance and to the AGT table. Light Balance’s use of lights in their routines is spectacular. Diavolo’s stunning choreography and use of unusual, huge props is unparalleled. Diavolo recently faced elimination, though and advanced to the finals via the judges’ votes. This may not bode well for a win.
Furthermore, we have never seen a ventriloquist as young as Darci Lynne Farmer, who not only totally commands her puppets and her audience, but sings like a mini diva with her mouth closed, is witty, and charming. She’s been an early fan favorite to win since her first audition.
Inspiration Could Incite a Win
Pint-sized vocal powerhouse Angelica Hale nearly died at four and has taken her second chance at life very seriously. She travels around to sing and tell her miraculous story at Children’s Miracle Network Hospital events across the country. America has fallen in love with Angelica and for good reason! She sings with expression, power, and stage presence way beyond her 10 years. She is easily a top contender for a win.
Likewise, burn survivor Kechi Okwuchi was one of only two survivors in a plane crash that killed 107 people when she was just 16. She is a portrait of courage and perseverance and has lived her life with determination and as a tribute to all the lives that were lost. Howie Mandel has repeatedly referred to her as “a light” and her moving semifinals performance of “Don’t Worry About Me” brought Mel B. to tears. She also faced elimination this week, but was saved via America’s Dunkin’ Save vote. Win or lose, it has been a joy and inspiration to watch Kechi stand up and fight for her dreams.
Teen vocalist Evie Clair impressed judges immediately with her Christina Perri audition. She also displayed tremendous courage during her AGT journey as her dad battled stage IV colon cancer and she dedicated her performances to him. He sadly passed away the day after her semifinals performance. It is not yet known if she will appear in next week’s finals. Per Extra, Simon Cowell has left given her the choice to perform next week or return next year. Our hearts go out to Evie and her family in this time of great loss.
Is Being Funny Enough?
Comedian Preacher Lawson makes us laugh and Sara and her dog Hero do amazing, cute routines. However, given the degree of talent and originality of the other acts, a win for either of them seems like a longshot. We could see Lawson on SNL and wish Sara and Hero could find a home on a family-based TV or traveling show. But, neither one seems likely to walk away with the season 12 AGT crown. Overall, we know anything can happen on “America’s Got Talent.” Our hats are tipped to Darci Lynne Farmer, Mandy Harvey and Angelica Hale for a potential win. We’ll have to wait and see if we’re right.
“America’s Got Talent” airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on NBC.