America's Got Talent-Season 8 Finale-Kenichi Ebina
The little drummer boy is banging his drum.  The fat lady is singing.  America’s Got Talent is over, and the winner is probably just who you think.  No amount of judge interviews, backstage confessions, and tributes to the incomparable—though sometimes poorly attired—host of the show, Nick Cannon, could distract.  That being said, watching all the amazing guest performers and exhilarating special duets was the closest we ever came to forgetting what last was all about.

The Rockettes were the first guest performers to grace the finale stage.   Obviously these ladies have been watching the competition; the illuminating orbs encrusted on their ensembles glowed and flashed different colors throughout their routine.  Soon after Icona Pop filled the stage with backup dancers and a massive double turntable to perform the summer anthem “I Love It” before taking over the judges table for “All Night.”  The most surprising—and let’s admit it, undeserving—guest appearance of the night was that of the elements known as Earth Wind and Fire. We are not worthy, but are ever grateful that they performed one of their most beloved hits, “September” along with a song from their new album Now, Then, and Forever. Be happy you were able to see the greats at least once in your life. Country singer of the year Luke Bryan performed “That’s My Kind of Night” in the most energetic country showing we’ve ever seen. Luke was unafraid to move around, interact with the crowd, turn his hat backwards, shake his hips, and even storm the judges table.

Starting off the night’s duet performances was Cami Bradley and Gavin DeGraw. With perpendicular pianos the two took turns to quietly accompanying themselves as they poured emotion into one of Gavin’s most notable tunes. A brief but spirited recitation of “Best I Ever Had” rounded out their sweet performance.  Their pairing was practically predestined the two looked so perfect together.  Kenichi Ebina’s partnering with Il Divo and Heather Headley made much less sense.  Other than his few conductor themed moves at the start of their song, Kenichi was hardly seen.  Of course that took nothing away from Heather and Il Divo’s duet of The Lion King’s most touching song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”

Taylor Williamson’s partnership was written in the stars though.  His interview with James Lipton was just as hilarious as everything else Taylor does.  Case and point: we learned his favorite curse word is Dick Chaney. Taylor, please never change. Collins Key surprised us by performing magic for Kathy Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb—of course he could have used anybody as the patsy’s for his reprisal of his combined book and dollar bill trick.  Perhaps no one realized the two would need glasses to read pages and serial numbers but watching them try to decipher small digits and letters added a little shtick to Collins routine.  Hoda picked page 96 in her book and read the word sucking while Kathy Lee chose a random bill.  As per usual, Kathy Lee was sitting on an envelope that contained the suddenly missing page, which had the word sucking written on one side and the correct serial number of her dollar on the other.

If anyone wondered why Il Divo didn’t perform with Forte, it’s because they were waiting for the superstar that unknowingly started the group: Josh Groban. He pulled the groups founding member on stage during one of his concert so it’s only fitting that he join them for their triumphant final performance at Radio City Music Hall. Their voices blended so well a song together should be in the works; no four the quartet of operatic tones would be nothing short of perfection. Closing out the night of duets, Jimmy Rose sang with one of his country hero Dierks Bentley.  Jimmy never looked happier than crooning alongside one of his favorite musical giants, as well he should.

However results are the only things that matter.  Of course the first couple results were heartbreaking; coming in sixth and fifth respectively were Cami Bradley and Collins Key.  Hopefully some wonderfully nurturing record executive with bottomless pockets was waiting in the wings for Cami.  She deserves the career her voice was made for.  Seeing Collins walk off that soon was quite unexpected but at his age he’ll able to transform this into an amazing start.  Forte came in fourth, though if a CD with their name on it doesn’t come out soon we’d be shocked. The show’s co-creator Simon Cowell already formed one great opera group, Il Divo; more than likely he saw something he liked while sitting in the audience.  Jimmy Rose left in third place; as usual the nations forced dedication to literally any country singer manipulated the outcome.  At least Jimmy has always been the most humble and gracious competitor on stage. If you were keeping track—and at this point how are you not—Taylor Williamson and Kenichi Ibina earned the honor of the final two of season eight. For the second year in a row the top acts weren’t singers and unfortunately for the second year in a row a comedian came in second place. Kenichi Ebina’s victory left our guy Taylor the odd man out, literally.  Even though Kenichi wasn’t always our favorite, his win proves what no matter what talent wins over all.