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Ahead of the two-night finale for season 18 of 'America's Got Talent,' PEOPLE has an exclusive look of a photo shoot featuring all 11 finalists
America's Got Talent is one step closer to naming a new winner!
With the two-night finale of the NBC hit series approaching, PEOPLE has an exclusive look at the photo shoot featuring all 11 finalists.
From singers and dance groups, to a jaw-dropping acrobatic duo and a dog act, this season's finale is sure to be a competitive one that will keep fans entertained all night long.
Below, meet all 11 acts competing on Tuesday night to be named the America's Got Talent season 18 winner.
The 64-person dance group from France first captivated viewers with their jaw-dropping audition, where they delivered synchronized hand-based choreography while blindfolded. The stunning performance led judge Howie Mandel to press his Golden Buzzer, declaring it “hypnotic.”
During the live show, the group earned unanimous praise from all of the judges as the closing act of the night. Simon Cowell called their performance "literally perfection," while Sofía Vergara noted, "This is what AGT's all about."
"When you talk about rising to the occasion, they rose not only to the occasion, they rose above the occasion. They were the ultimate perfection," Mandel raved to PEOPLE after the live show. "I've never seen anything like that in my life."
The group’s stand-in leader, Jibril, added of their performance and the audience’s reaction: "It was better than our dreams."
The 28-year-old software engineer turned comedian, who has cerebral palsy and is non-verbal, quickly won over the judges with his sense of humor during his audition. The Ontario native uses his phone to deliver jokes.
The comedian's live show performance earned him laughs from Sofía, in particular. For one of his jokes, he asked his service dog to “fetch Sofía Vergara,” but the phone auto-corrected her name to “Viagra.”
“I didn't foresee how that joke would probably change my entire career. Nobody's ever gonna forget that joke,” Besile told PEOPLE backstage afterwards. “But tell [Vergara] to call me. We can make a few family sitcoms.”
The 17-year-old singer-songwriter made her mark when she sat down at the piano and delivered an original song for her audition. Not only did she impress the judges with her vocals, but she also earned Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer.
"You are, I think, one of the best singers we've ever had on our show," the judge started before pressing his Golden Buzzer.
Speaking to PEOPLE after the moment, Ariani shared, “I can't describe how grateful I am and how amazing and magical that moment [was] for me. It's so incredible. I never expected that it would happen to me.”
The singer-songwriter, who is blind, previously won Indonesia’s Got Talent. For her live show performance, she sang U2’s classic “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” Afterwards, she explained to PEOPLE that she chose the song because of its meaning.
“[The song] has a different meaning when people still don't know what actually we are looking for in this life,” she shared. “But because of AGT now, I know what I'm looking for … one step closer to reaching my dream.”
The 27-year-old singer quickly became a fan-favorite when she sang Irene Cara’s “Out Here On My Own” — which hails from the 1980 musical film Fame — for her audition. Her powerful performance earned a standing ovation from the judges and led judge Heidi Klum to press her Golden Buzzer.
"As a child I lived for the movie Fame, so I loved that she was singing 'Out Here On My Own,'” Klum told PEOPLE afterwards. “I immediately felt a connection with Lavender and I knew that I wanted to be her biggest cheerleader in this competition."
The moment brought Darcangelo, who is blind and has autism, to tears of joy.
"It makes me so relieved because I start thinking, 'Wow, what's possible out there for me?' It makes me question all the things that I thought I couldn't do," she said to PEOPLE. "If the world is willing to be accommodating and compassionate to me, then what more potential do I have that I don't know about? How far can I go when being authentic?"
Later, as the closing act for the season’s first live show, the singer belted out Foreigner's "I Wanna Know What Love Is” and once again earned glowing reviews from the judges. Afterwards, she raved to PEOPLE about her bond with Klum.
"I feel like Heidi is my best friend now," she shared. "She is somebody that I can ask for advice. It feels so awesome to know that a famous person is in your corner."
The Tanzanian brothers stunned the judges with their jaw-dropping acrobatic audition. Fadhili and Ibrahim specialize in head-balancing, with Fadhili using his head (and nothing else) to balance on top of his brother’s.
Mandel declared their audition “the most dangerous act I have ever seen on America's Got Talent." Cowell called the performance “spell-binding” and Klum said she was “mind-blown.” Vergara said none of them would ever forget the beyond memorable act.
The duo delivered a show-stopping performance again during the live show later in the season. Speaking to PEOPLE backstage afterwards, host Terry Crews called the act his standout performance of the night.
“Something that you probably only see once in a lifetime is what those guys are doing,” the host said. “It took years to perfect that. Anything could have happened. I mean, just one slip and it's over.”
The brothers explained to PEOPLE that the key to their successful performance was the deep trust they have for each other.
“You need a lot of practice and a lot of trust,” Fadhili shared. “Trust is very important. Without trust you cannot do it. It's not a thing that you just wake up and do … it’s dangerous.”
The 25-year-old Filipina magician instantly impressed the judges with mesmerizing card tricks at her audition. She went on to make history as the first female magician to progress to AGT's live show rounds.
During her live performance, she brought the judges on stage and once again worked her magic, this time with an act involving a delicious-looking chocolate cake. The judges praised not only her talent, but also her energy and lively personality.
“I think you have a big career ahead of you,” Vergara declared.
Speaking to PEOPLE backstage afterwards, DeGuzman revealed that this was the first time she’d ever performed this particular act for any audience, having created it specifically for the purpose of AGT.
“Honestly, it was such a blur,” the magician said. “I created this act just for the show. So I've never done it before. It's the first time I've ever performed it. It's the first time it's worked.”
The Japanese dance group ended season 18’s auditions with a bang when they received the Group Golden Buzzer from all four judges and Crews.
"We all loved you so much that we, collectively, would like to give you something special," Cowell said before the group hit the buzzer. "You are gonna make this season very, very special!"
After the momentous occasion, Chibi Unity’s manager Rena Goto told PEOPLE via email that the group was “very surprised” by the honor.
"It's not that we didn't have confidence in our dancing, but this is such an achievement to have been able to experience such a prestigious occasion as the Golden Buzzer on the stage that we've always admired,” Goto wrote. “We put all of our effort into our dance and were just so grateful for the outcome.”
Additionally, the group revealed to PEOPLE ahead of their audition that they were inspired by The Mayyas — Vergara’s Golden Buzzer and eventual season 17 winner — with Goto explaining, "They loved their country and proved their worth and power as women."
Mzansi Youth Choir
The Mzansi Youth Choir made AGT history earlier in the season when the judges handed out their first-ever Audience Golden Buzzer. For their audition, they performed a rendition of season 16 contestant Nightbirde’s song “It’s Okay” as a tribute to the late singer, who died of cancer in 2022.
Cowell held back tears during the performance. "This brought back so many memories for me," he said. "I know how much this would've meant to her ... it was just breathtaking, honestly." He then granted the group the historic Audience Golden Buzzer as the audience chanted "Golden Buzzer" over and over again.
"We never expected a reception like this," Jannie Zaaiman, the founder and director of Mzansi Youth Choir, told PEOPLE afterwards. "We had hoped we would make it through to the next round, but this was an absolute spectacular experience for the choristers, who handled the pressure with such poise and grace.”
For their live show, they performed Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere.” Nightbirde’s family sat in the audience, which the group described to PEOPLE as the “cherry on top” of their “special” performance.
Adrian Stoica and Hurricane
The trainer and his faithful border collie Hurricane proved to be an instant crowd-pleaser. For their audition, the dynamic duo — who have performed together all over the world — put on a display of various impressive tricks set to "Better When I'm Dancing" by Meghan Trainor.
They once again impressed the judges at the live show, during which they performed a routine set to Smash Mouth’s cover of “I’m a Believer” and Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” They received standing ovations and unanimous praise.
“I think in terms of stepping up from the audition to the live show, this is the best act we've seen tonight,” Cowell declared. “This was live, and that was a tricky routine. She was amazing."
“I think Hurricane is ready for Vegas,” Vergara added enthusiastically.
82nd Airborne Division All-American Chorus
The army group got off to a memorable start this season with an audition that pulled on judges’ and viewers’ heart strings alike. Their crowd-pleasing performance of The Temptations’ hit song “My Girl” was dedicated to the memory of Spc. Elijah Crawford.
For their live show later in the season, the chorus performed "I Am Here" by Pink and dedicated it to the entire Airborne division. Staff Sgt. Marcus Gilbert, a spokesperson for the army group, spoke to PEOPLE backstage afterwards about the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“It means the world for me personally," he shared. "I've been a singer for a long time and that was something that my dad started with me. My dad was also a paratrooper, so tonight was a huge night for me. I got to put those two loves together ... it's just a huge moment."
If they win the competition, the group plans to donate the cash prize to a charity of AGT’s choice.
The fan-favorite Japanese dance group, which is composed of 20 women, saw their hard work and dedication pay off when they won this season’s Instant Save. The group hails from Osaka, Japan and is known for their unique dance moves and expressions.
For their audition, they delivered a memorable synchronized dance routine to Hiromi Iwasaki's "Cinderella Honeymoon." The group instantly won over all of the judges, with Cowell describing the performance as “genius.”
At the live show, they performed a synchronized dance routine set to Yoasobi's song "Idol,” donning matching purple outfits. The judges gave unanimous praise, with Mandel calling it his favorite dance act and Klum raving about their delivery.
“You're so good! You look like 20 dolls who have come to life all of a sudden,” Klum said. “You set yourself apart from all the other dancers because of this unique look that you have and the unique movements that you make.”
Although they did not receive enough votes to make it to the finals, Mandel saved the day when he chose the group as his wildcard pick — and they won! "You are exciting, you are fresh, you are exactly what AGT is all about,” he declared.
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The two-night season 18 finale of America's Got Talent kicks off Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. A winner will be named on Wednesday, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.
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