America's Got Talent-The Final 6-Taylor Williamson
Summer is over and so is America’s Got Talent.  Tonight one person will be crowned the winner of the talent searches eighth—and best—season and the decision will be far from easy.  Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B., and Howard Stern did their best to bring voters quality candidates and truth be told, it was the most earnest effort seen to date.  For their final bid for a million dollars, a headlining show in Las Vegas, and bragging rights or a lifetime, each of the six was required to recreate a past performance before last performance determined their fate.  Nick Cannon’s outfit was much subdued so there can be no complaint of distraction—no matter what someone will be victorious.  Let’s hope it’s the one who deserves it.

Jimmy Rose

The opportunity to reprise an old performance might have been the most beneficial for Jimmy Rose.  The reminder that his audition song was an original composition that spoke to the hardships of the flailing coal-mining town Jimmy came from couldn’t have come at a better time.  As merely a singer, Jimmy pales in comparison to his peers but as a composer his esteem increases.

For his final performance Jimmy sang Garth Brook’s song “The Dance” with all the emotion and power his voice would allow.  Jimmy sounded smooth and confidant, which Mel B. fully supported by declaring she’d buy a CD with his name on it in an instant.  Where Jimmy falls in the finale is dependent on whether voters side with Heidi or Howie: will they love his earnest performance, or will they find his song lacking?

Kenichi Ibina

Kenichi Ibina is the last person that needed another excuse to make the judges drool but when you’re that shockingly capable, it’s hard not to cause a scene.  Like Jimmy he performed the same choreography that he did during the audition round, but the added lights, smoke, and costumes made the routine more polished.  Kenichi’s success on the main stage must have refined his techniques, because even his repeated moves looked much improved.  All of the judges begged for viewers to vote for him, each stating Kenichi deserves to win in turn.

Kenichi’s most celebrated performances were those where he performed with doubles of himself, expanding on that was the safest way to up the ante.  He interacted with and simultaneously danced alongside eight costumed digital images of himself.  In the past we haven’t always fully connected with all of Kenichi’s performances.  This time the magnanimity of the prep work necessary to pull off this routine was awe inspiring.   Unfortunately Mel B. didn’t agree; she felt the timing of the Kenichi’s movements didn’t match up with the computerized sequence.  The rest of the judges fawned all over Kenichi as usual, so chances are good that the rest of America was impressed.

Cami Bradley

During the quarter-finals Cami Bradley brought new meaning to the words of Cher’s iconic hit “Believe.”  None of the magic of Cami’s arrangement was lost on the repeat performance; if possible the verse seemed even more poignant than before.   The judges made themselves look silly—as per usual—by immediately naming Cami the same vote needing superstar that they called Kenichi only minutes before.

To close out her performance, Cami sang The Beatles “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”  The arrangement wasn’t the most original but Cami’s confidence was evident.  Where she used to shrink behind the computer Cami now swayed and moved about the stage with ease.  Howie repeated what he proclaimed after her first performance of the night: Cami is the best singer left in the competition.

Collins Key

The youngest competitor was the only one to work around the call for a repeat performance.  Returning to the art of close up magic, Collins Key dominated the judges table, asking Heidi and Mel B. to pick and sign a random card in turn.  After lining said cards up back to back with the signature sides facing up, Collins asked the women to hold the card between their teeth before they pressed the card together with their lips.  Collins said their actions melted the card together and sure enough the two cards looked like one, with Collins even ripping the curious blend in half to prove its authenticity.

As usual Collins found a new way to knock every one’s socks off for his finale.  This time he pre-recorded a video on You Tube that was paused on the stage‘s big screen.  Next, the network randomly selected pictures audience members took in a photo booth for a group to come out on stage.  Those that made it on stage were holding different hash tags, and Howie, Mel B., and Heidi randomly chose three pictures.  Those three people walked out, so Collins could play the You Tube video that accurately described the outfit and hash tag of each person.  Just to rub in his perfection, Collins revealed that the back of everyone’s card had letters on them, and the three chosen spelled out his last name, Key.

Forte

This group of opera singers was one of the favored acts at the beginning of the show.  However when Forte began singing the same song they performed in Las Vegas it became obvious that when measured against an original composition, a unique arrangement, a jazzed up mystifying dance routine, and a puzzling magic trick plain old singing doesn’t cut it.

Forte really benefitted from singing their last son in the final slot of the night.  It’s not that their voices were any less superb–anything that added to their mystique couldn’t hurt.  The vocals were stunning of course; even though yet again they sand in a foreign tongue the power of their unified instrument interpreted all the beauty of the lyrics.  But their success wasn’t the calming moment it normally is.  It’s just too hard to imagine the trio victorious when they’re compared with more creative and complicated acts line Collins, Taylor, and Kenichi.

Taylor Williamson

The idea of repeating a routine was really only murderous to one hopeful: the comedian.  It was foolish to worry; Taylor Williamson sidestepped the stigma by repeating a joke about a camel only to berate the network for the poor looking camel suited stage hand.  After fighting with the costumed extra, Taylor appeared flustered which of course was another rouse—when a sputtering Taylor pled for a backup choir and lights like Forte, one popped up melodically.  To drive that effect home, Taylor restated his highly popular canine race relations joke with a little punch from the choir and a few flashy fireworks.  Most importantly, the judges were unafraid to remind viewers that Taylor had the biggest challenge in recreating his work.

Taylor donned a blue tux jacket for his final performance.  Focusing on his past dating foible, he again pushed the line of politically correct and kid friendly comedy.  The reason Taylor is so beloved is because he’s one of the few comedians for whom the moment to strike never ends.  While listening to the judges’ comments the audience was all in titters, entranced by Taylor’s many animated facial expressions.  Even his rebuttals are far more hilarious than any other—he almost took over the stage with a well-placed jab at Nick.  If there was a comedian to win the competition, Taylor is it.