On Wednesday, "America's Got Talent" named the six acts that will vie for the 2013 title. And with three singing acts moving forward into next week's Season 8 finale of "America's Got Talent," it certainly appears as if another singer is likely to gain major label recognition again via a reality show. The variety competition show has already put through five winning singers in seven seasons, not to mention getting a runner-up, Jackie Evancho, enough national recognition to launch her nascent career (and to quickly make her the most successful alum from the series thus far). The question is: Will America choose a singer again? At the same time, regardless of who wins, will they have what it takes to become household names?
Most people would be hard pressed to name any of the previous winners of "America's Got Talent" (AGT), let alone any of the other acts that made the show's seven finales, which doesn't say a lot for the future of whoever wins the Season 8 contest. (No, really. Name one. Go ahead... See?) Still, as recounted in the recap of Wednesday's results on NBC.com posted on Sept. 11, among the six finalists getting to this season's finale are a gifted comedian, a dancer that incorporates various media for a unique show, and the three aforementioned singing acts. Could one of them break the cycle?
Tuesday's Top 12 finalists included four musical acts. Only Branden James, and operatic singer who performed Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" didn't make it through to the finale. Also cut were three dance acts: a shadow dancing troupe (Catapult Entertainment), an acrobatic dance group (Innovative Force), and a pair of ballroom dancers (D'Angelo & Amanda). And just missing the Season 8 finale were the comedic hand balancing duo, the Kristof Brothers, and the acrobatic group Chicago Boyz.
It must be noted that a comedian has never won "AGT," although the very talented Tom Cotter came close during Season 7 (but the joke was on him as he fell to the cutesy antics of Olate Dogs, the opening act of Wednesday night's show). Season 8 has produced a very funny comedian, Taylor Williamson, who just might become the first. His quirky, somewhat questioning delivery of offbeat jokes has been an audience favorite, if not always a judges favorite (Heidi Klum has found his humor not family friendly and sometimes vague). Mel B told him during the Semi-Finals performance episode... well, nothing, because when she took a deep breath to begin, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern overrode whatever she was about to say. When host Nick Cannon asked if she really had anything to say, she laughed and, before she could mutter a word, Taylor Williamson yelled, "Let's go back to Howie." Mel B couldn't help but laugh.
Kenichi Ebina has created an interactive dance act that not only displays his dance routines but also tells stories with light, shadow, videos, and special effects. He has become a judges favorite and the word "genius" has been used often. He's in the finale, which indicates that he's also resonating with the voting public.
And then there are the singers, three separate acts that run the spectrum of music genres. There's Forte, a three-man operatic group that got together via the Internet. They've been a powerhouse of vocal talent and will most likely become successful in the same vein as Il Divo and Andrea Bocelli. The judges love them and the live crowds have responded well to their operatic offerings, including a standing ovation for their powerful rendition of Celine Dion's "Titanic" his "My Heart Will Go On." It moved judges Howard Stern and Howie Mandel to recreate the bow scene from the epic movie, where Stern made certain afterward that everyone understand that he was the man in the re-creation.
Out of little Pineville, Ky., comes Jimmy Rose, whose heartfelt country vocals lends him a credence not seen out of Kentucky since Dwight Yoakum. He offered up Blake Shelton's "God Gave Me You" to get the popular vote to land in the finale. Although perhaps not his best performance since auditioning for "AGT," Rose is pure country. Reality show voters seem to be favoring country artists lately. (Tate Stevens at "X Factor;" Cassidy Pope and Danielle Bradbury, the last two winners of "The Voice;" and Scotty McCreery at "American Idol." If one considers folk rock's country leanings, Phillip Phillips of "American Idol" could be added as well.) Given this, he just might have a good shot at wining.
But they'll all have to rally their supporters, because church singer Cami Bradley could be the one to beat. A pure voice that knows how to rearrange a song to fit her unique stylings, Bradley is a winner even if she doesn't take the competition. Her renditions of Cher's "Believe" and Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love" were only amazing warm-ups for her jazzy, lilting, and inspiringly sexy offering of Bon Jovi's "Living On A Prayer," which was simply captivating.
The "AGT" finale will showcase the six finalists in a star-studded two-night finale.
The 2013 performance finale of "America's Got Talent" will air on Tuesday, Sept. 17. The Season 8 finale results will be announced on Wednesday, Sept. 18. Both shows begin at 9 p.m. (EST).