America's Got Talent-The Finals Season 9-AcroArmy
This is it.  That’s all she wrote.  The fat lady has sung.  It’s the whole kit and caboodle—the whole shebang.  Wondering how many more I have?  This is for all the marbles.  Tonight there’s precious little to say, as the presence of Nick Cannon’s reverent black tux always proves at this time of year.  America’s Got Talent has reached the finals at last.  There are six acts, all of which are favored highly, with most banking only on their talent.    Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B., and Howie Mandel got us here so to speak, so they are to be thanked.  There’s no judges’ save now, just like no prediction they or I could make would hold any weight.  There’s only the hope that talent will win over charisma, and that whoever is awarded a Vegas Show and a million dollars truly deserves the honor.  With so many viable options it’s hard to imagine being let down but as disappointment is always a promiscuous bedfellow, it’s time to remind you that voting will be open until 12 Noon Eastern Standard Time via Goggle search.  Don’t let me down.

America's Got Talent-The Finals Season 9-Quintavious Johnson

Quintavious Johnson

Reliving his semi-finals performance, Quintavious Johnson first besotted the crowd with another recital of “I’d Rather Be Blind.”  Somehow he managed to stretch the notes in the final bars even longer than before.   Of course the judges started the night by gushing, with Howard declaring him a real contender.  As the consummate professional, Quintavious performed The Beatles’ powerful ballad “Let It Be” for the final song.  The pleading final verses are so equal to the giantess of Quintavious’s vocals that it felt designed for this moment.  As earnest as his voice was in the beginning was as compelling as it was in the middle and as transcendent as the final notes.    The choir that accompanied Quintavious, while beautiful, couldn’t compare with this young man’s Earth shattering sound.  The judges’ each took their time bemoaning the voters’ difficult choice and praising Quintavious’s poise, professionalism, and talent.  America will no doubt do the same.

America's Got Talent-The Finals Season 9-Mat Franco

 Mat Franco

Mat Franco relived the illusion from his first audition with a delightful added twist.  He turned a round of find the balls under the cup trick to a long limerick about the judges, punctuated by the moments he made the balls disappear and reappear at will.  Always willing to outdo himself, Mat ended the redo by making four tennis balls plastered with the judges faces appear from the cups that barely looked large enough to hold them.  As usual, the judges fawned, with Howard again winning the best commentary by pointing out how much more work Mat put into his remix performance than any of the singers.  As the first finalist to give his all, Mat’s last performance took even more effort.  Calling a large number of audience members on stage to hold large playing cards, Mat created a human deck.  The deck shuffled themselves by walking around the stage.  Mat used Howard to separate red cards from black cards in a regular sized deck before instructing Mel to do the same thing on stage with the human deck.  Mat had Mel and Howard switch the colors in the pile halfway through their decks.  Somehow Howard and Mel sorted the cards into perfect stacks of colors, though both left the three of clubs in their second red card set.  All the judges pledged their affection, though Howie found the time to slyly share his new status as a grandfather to mentioning the presence of Mat’s revered grandmother.  (Super classy dude.)  Hopefully you voters will focus on what counts: Mat’s amazing magic.

America's Got Talent-The Finals Season 9-Emily West

Emily West

Recreating her quarter-finals performance was the songstress no one can deny, Emily West.  Standing on some sort of pedestal, Emily’s fitted drop waist red gown spread from her body to the stage, climbing the back wall and hanging to the rafters.  Yes, the look of her would be enough, serenading the crowned with an orchestra scattered around the edges of her skirt.  Though Howard and Heidi pledged their undying affection, Mel and Howie both found Emily first recitation of Sia’s “Chandelier” more moving than the repeat.  For me, it’s true that Emily’s first performance of the song was mind altering—I think if her and it often.  But there’s no doubt in my mind I’ll think of her second time around more.  She gave her final performance last, probably because the producer in charge of the line-up couldn’t imagine sticking Emily in any other slot.  Singing “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” Emily let go and let her vocals rework the song as only it can.  Hearing her everything else falls away; you have no choice but to be swept up in the majesty of her voice.  As usual the judges loved every second, but the voters will make their love clear for sure.

America's Got Talent-The Finals Season 9-Miguel Dakota

Miguel Dakota

The big questions of the night center on Miguel Dakota’s performances.  Will he win the competition thanks to the pandemonium caused by his smile?  Or could Miguel finally dig down deep and deliver the caliber of performance necessary at this level in the competition.  This time around Miguel’s version of The White Stripes “Seven Nation Army” was melodically pleasing but still missing that extra edge.  The most dangerous thing about Miguel’s performances isn’t his floppy hair.  It’s Howie’s rabid need to push Miguel on America as the perfect “marketable” talent.  Settle down Mandel: if he’s really talented he’ll stick.  In a surprising movie, Miguel turned Michael Jackson’s iconic “Billie Jean” into an acoustic guitar ballad for his final performance.  Alone on the stage with his voice, Miguel’s earnestly sung first verse was the best of his to date.  Still, when he tried to rock his way through the chorus, his voice didn’t quite hold up to the moment.  The judges agreed that this was Miguel’s strongest performance to date—whether that’s enough to match up to the other performer’s stellar run of routines.

Sons of Serendip

Having formed their euphoric group just weeks before their first audition, redoing that initial performance allowed Sons of Serendip to relish in the moment they realized their group was real.  “Somewhere Only We Know” was just as idyllic as the first time Sons of Serendip’s beautiful sound wafted through my eardrums.  How sad then that their first performance of the night had to be marred by a confusing and round about set of commentary from the judges.  Though the female judges gave their usual perfect performance blessings, Howie called them the best but said they might lose because for who voters want to see win, not who should.  When followed up by Howard’s remarks about them being too, “retro,” to win favor with the public something feels odd.  If any of that were of consequence, you’d think the judges might have mentioned it before the very last night.  Their performance of Evanescence’s “Wake Me up Inside” seemed to be the answer to those remarks that the group members couldn’t form before on stage.  Putting their usual dreamlike spin on the song, the soloist let his voice go again, allowing those perfect notes to carry boldly over his even more flawless bands ethereal notes.

AcroArmy

If there’s one finalist didn’t have to worry about changing their routine for their remix performance, it’s AcroArmy.  It would be hard for anyone to tell if these acrobatic gymnasts witch dancing feet altered their choreography when you spend so much time holding your breath.  Though a few steps seemed familiar the routine still felt more suspenseful.  Even as they performed thee same human girl jump rope throwing finale, I sensed the standing ovation they received long before the first judge was on their feet.  Torpedoing a person from the judges table to the stage isn’t new for AcroArmy, but it still created a breathtaking start to their final performance.  It would be impossible to transcribe the feats they accomplished.  Imagine a row of lean yet burly gymnasts hoisting a group of lithe young acrobats in the air to perform the kinds of feats that require mats and spotters.  Before your brain has a chance to properly think through the danger, their swift and strange movements send your thoughts back into a tailspin.  Their finale, a five person high transformer upon which another acrobat balanced her body above was the most terrifying, shocking, and wondrous moment of the night.  They are the more that everyone thought wasn’t possible—Howie’s words said it best.  It’s hard not to love nearly every act in the finals, but if you’re counting the effort, if you’re considering the work, if you’re accounting for the complexity, then AcroArmy has to be your final decision.