Howie Mandel favorite act comes as somewhat of a surprise.
If you can use one word to describe this season of America’s Got Talent, according to judge Howie Mandel, it is the word original. He especially says that applies to Lebanese dance troupe The Mayyans and all the magicians.
“The magicians are doing things in a way that we've never seen it done before,” Howie told reporters after Tuesday night’s performance show. “If it’s Mervant Vera, who is rapping and singing along with his magic, to Nicolas RIBS with the shadows, or Don McMillan with PowerPoint, all the magicians this year have risen to the occasion, and we've just seen things done in a way we've never seen it done before.”
That said, Howie told Parade that The Mayyans is the best act he’s ever seen in his history as a judge on America’s Got Talent.
“Here in the room, I don't know how it translated on television, but here I've never seen anything like it,” he said. “It was like watching a real hypnotic, beautiful creature come to life. Then add who they are, the empowerment of women, where they come from and their culture, and it was so inspirational. I could have watched them for two hours.”
Howie attributes COVID as part of the reason that this season has had so many outstanding acts. He says that as a result of the travel ban, people weren’t able to make their way into the country, but now that that’s lifted, a lot of artists from overseas have made their way to the U.S. to audition.
“I've always said that each year inspires the next year,” he said. “People get good ideas and get inspired and go, “I can do that, but I can do that better and I can light myself on fire,” so imagine that for the last two years were all these inspired people but they never came out and now that flood gate is open. I think we have the most spectacular year we've had in the history of AGT."
Among the amazing acts competing in the finale to date are Avery Dixon, Chapel Hart, Metaphysic, Drake Milligan, Nicolas RIBS, Sara James, Mike E Winfield, and Yu Hojin. They will be joined by two more acts voted on by America tonight, who will compete for the $1 million and a chance to headline “America’s Got Talent Las Vegas LIVE” at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
But also tonight, once the Top 10 finalists have been voted through, they will be joined by an 11th act, a Final Wild Card. This vote will consist of four eliminated Live Show acts, each selected by one of the judges on tonight’s AGT. Under consideration are Howie’s Golden Buzzer Maddie, Heidi Klum’s Golden Buzzer Lily Meola, and ventriloquist Celia Muñoz.
“I am torn as to who I would like to see as the wild card,” Howie says. “There’s so many that went away in my mind that were worthy of being in the game. Just tonight, there are people that are as worthy as anyone in past seasons of being the winner, let alone making it to the finals. There's Maddie, who was my Golden Buzzer, Don McMillan, he's just amazing. I'll decide in the last minute when they go, ‘Hey you’ve got to put out that name,’ but I'll take input whatever anybody has.”
Wrapping it up, Howie says, ““I think this is going to be the toughest, most competitive finale that we have ever had.”
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesday and Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.