On Wednesday night we will find out who America voted the next champion of “America’s Got Talent,” earning the chance to see their name in the big lights of Vegas. Before that happens, there are predictions and opinions to discuss about who we think SHOULD be the winner. Eleven acts will perform one last time on Tuesday, but if you ask me, there is only one that America should send straight through to Vegas and that’s the Ramadhani Brothers.
As of this writing, the sibling danger act is not being predicted by Gold Derby as the winner and have long shot odds of 100/1. Instead, most users believe the French dance troupe Murmuration or Indonesian vocalist Putri Ariani will win. Still, I insist that the Ramadhani Brothers are the best prepared to add value to the Vegas strip with their incredible talent Below, see my personal power rankings for all 11 acts as we get set for “The Finals” airing on September 26 (performance show) and September 27 (results).
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1. Ramadhani Brothers
If you’re like me and think of Vegas as an “adult Disneyland” then thrills and chills is what you want from any show you see there. That is exactly what the Ramadhani Brothers delivered in their semi-finals performance. There was not a single heartbeat to hear when you watch their routine back. Knowing that they suffered a tumble during rehearsals, made watching their balancing act all the more stressful. Sure, many of us “can dance” and “can sing” or even “tell a funny joke,” but who among us can even remotely pretend that we’d be able to balance our sibling upside down on our own head and then walk up and down stairs? None of us. Not a single one of us! In the 18th season of the world’s greatest talent show, it’s time we select a champion act that delivers on their promise to show something dangerous and unlike anything we’ve seen before AND anything we could dream of doing ourselves.
3. Chibi Unity
When The Mayyas emerged as the season 17 champions it was a huge sigh of relief to finally see dancers take home the championship crown. Their success showed other dance troupes that “AGT” wasn’t just a platform to exposure for them, but that they actually had a chance to win themselves. Enter: Murmuration, Chibi Unity and Avantgardey, three stupendous groups of dancers that have continued to elevate the world of dance on the “AGT” stage. Each group is so unique in their own way, but Murmuration’s ability to create sound and feeling with the smallest of movements constantly astounds me, much in the same way that Mayyas were able to use synchronicity to engage the audience’s senses. Chibi Unity and Avantgardey are much more traditional in their approach to large group dance formations and storytelling, but their point of view remains compelling and their movement intricate — I would be delighted to see back-to-back dance winners with any one of these three being named champ.
5. Mzansi Youth Choir
6. 82nd Airborne Chorus
Like dance groups, choirs have had an incredibly challenging time getting over the hurdle from finalist-to-champion. Choirs and vocal groups have seen a huge boost in recent seasons between the judges selecting them as Golden Buzzer acts and them performing their way into America’s hearts as finalists, but none has been able to capture enough votes to win. Mzansi Youth Choir came out of the gates really strong this season, tying their audition performance directly back to beloved contestant Nightbirde by singing their her song. The 82nd Airborne Chorus delivered a strong second performance by taking a Pink song in a new direction that made it sound their own. At this point, both vocal groups are on even ground and either could capture the audience votes with the right final performance.
7. Adrian Stoica and Hurricane
It’s been over 10 seasons since Olate Dogs won season 7 and over five since Sara & Hero made it to the season 12 finale as a dog trick act. Animal acts are popular on “AGT,” but not so popular that they find themselves this close to a win. If any act since Olate Dogs deserves a win, it’s Adrian and Hurricane because of the way they weave storytelling into their series of tricks. The kinship that humans feel toward their pets is what draws the audience in and Adrian has expertly put his friendship with Hurricane on display through two heartwarming performances. While I wouldn’t be mad to see them crowned the winner, I mostly just feel like it’s very unlikely among such a strong cast.
8. Lavender Darcangelo
9. Putri Ariani
Let’s be clear – I love, love, love both Lavender and Putri, but singers have had so much success on the show that I can’t help wanting to see a different genre of talent win this season. With their stories of overcoming disabilities and hardships in order to live out their dream of taking the stage, Lavender and Putri are the inspirational contenders that make watching “AGT” such a joy. What “AGT” does so well is its blending of talent with storytelling to build the picture that being a star is bigger than any single component — it’s all of it together in the right person at the right time that draw people in. Lavender and Putri are great examples of what “AGT” does best, but their star will shine bright with or without the win.
10. Ahren Belisle
Like many of the comedians before him that have seen success on “AGT,” Ahren brings a truly unique point of view to the stage with his comedy. It’s wildly impressive how he can create a punchline despite the lag in time between the setup and the joke while he types out his words in a text-to-speech app. As Howie Mandel pointed out in Ahren’s initial audition, so much of comedy is about timing and so it’s fascinating that Ahren is able to make it work at all. But Howie’s inquiry was what made Ahren’s audition work because Ahren’s responses explaining how it works were hilarious and connected the audience directly to his comedy. That connection to his process was missing for me in Ahren’s second set in the semi-finals though, so I’m not sure I have confidence that America will choose him as the first ever stand up comedian winner.
11. Anna DeGuzman
While I agree with Heidi Klum that we need more “female magicians,” I’m a bit disappointed with what Anna has shown us so far and I don’t think it’s worthy of a berth in the “AGT” finale. In Heidi and Sofia Vergara‘s responses to Anna’s semi-finals performance, it was acknowledged that she was “super, super nervous.” In fact, Anna’s magic routine in that round was clunky and muddled, in part because the judges themselves were so difficult to work with, but to have a show in Vegas Anna would need to tighten up her improvisation skills because you never know what kind of responses a Vegas crowd will give you!
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