The two-hour performance finale of the 2013 edition of "America's Got Talent" Tuesday evening gave America two more glimpses into the potential of the six remaining finalists vying for that $1 million Las Vegas contract. And although it might have been a tough contest to call for most, professional oddsmakers like those at Bovada posted that interactive media interpretive dancer Kenichi Ebina had the best odds of winning Season 8. But that was before all the acts got to perform two more times.
Judge Mel B told the "Today" show earlier that morning (Sept. 17), according to NBC News, that she thought Cami Bradley was really good, but the opera trio "Forte's going to win it."
Mel B also said that if Forte doesn't win, country singer Jimmy Rose just might pick up the win. But she's certain that one act won't win: Magician Collins Key. "I don't think he's that good," she said candidly.
Mel B's predictions aside, how did the six finalists do? Did Ebina do enough to keep his odds favorable for winning "America's Got Talent" like the oddsmakers figure? Or will comedian Taylor Williamson, the quirky funnyman that kept poking fun at judge Heidi Klum, triumph in the end? Or how about the aforementioned Collins Key, the 17-year-old magician whose tricks are great but who needs to work on some flash and sizzle? Or could the million-dollar prize go to yet another singing act (remember: five of the seven seasons of "America's Got Talent" has seen a singer win the contest), like Mel B's favorite Forte, the operatic trio; Cami Bradley, the quietly beautiful church singer with a flair for jazzing up pop songs; or Jimmy Rose, the former Marine and coal miner-turned-country singer whose voice is holler pure?
Forte ended the show with what Mel B called a "breathtaking" performance, singing in Italian Lucio Dalla's "Caruso." And such a powerful finish just might get them the votes they need for a win, especially after performing for the second time Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli's "The Prayer."
Cami Bradley was pitch perfect again with her brilliant (and still nearly unrecognizable) version of Cher's "Believe." But when she rearranged The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand," judge Howie Mandel said, “There is no other singer like you… You sound like no other. You are a star.”
Jimmy Rose wowed the judges a second time around with his heartfelt original song, "Coal Keeps The Lights On." However, he got mixed reviews when he covered Garth Brooks' signature song, "The Dance." Still, judge Heidi Klum told him that no matter what, he stayed true to who he was as a performer. But judge Howard Stern said that it didn't measure up to his other performances or to the original.
Young magician Collins Key performed a rather simple but somewhat pointless trick of fusing two cards together that judge Stern said he hoped the audience at home appreciated. (What the audience at home probably appreciated most -- well, those with girl-on-girl fetishes -- was that Key got judges Klum and Mel B to bite down on the cards with their faces just inches apart.) His second trick involved a bit of technological input, drawing on a YouTube video supposedly posted the day to describe three people from a group with hashtag placards. He then had the three flip their placards. In order, they spelled out "K-E-Y," his last name. But the kid got ahead of himself, calling his own trick "amazing." Judge Stern said he seemed to have picked up a bit on his timing and all thought his use of modern media was commendable.
Comedian Taylor Williamson was his usual timidly emotive self. His first routine (all acts chose previously used material for their first performance) was a callback to earlier jokes, but he incorporated the fresh material in complaining that the producers didn't understand that you can't have a comedian tell the same jokes twice -- simply because they're not funny the second time around. His second performance began as another poke at judge Heidi Klum, who started the season telling him his routine wasn't family friendly and confusing, but went on to explore his love life. The live crowd began to to chant his name, "Taylor, Taylor." And Williamson may have won the night with his spontaneity after telling Klum after she talked over him a couple times that "here in America, the woman does not interrupt the man" (she's German), then adding quickly, jabbing at host Nick Cannon, "Except in Mariah's house." (Cannon would get him back just seconds later when Howie Mandel pointed out Williamson's mother in the audience, who the emcee said was "hot.")
Mandel made the point that Williamson and Kenichi Ibena were working at a disadvantage to the singers. They created their acts, characters, wrote their own material, while the singers performed amid pyrotechnics and lazers. (Actually, Williamson anticipated this and incorporated pyrotechnics and a choir into his first comedic routine, much to the delight of the judges panel and the live audience.)
Ibena performed his mesmerizing "Matrix"-esque martial arts dance from earlier in the season for his first number. His second performance incorporated all of his former characters from his other routines, all played by Ibena himself, in a contemporary dance number. Judge Klum said the last performance was missing something but the overall judges' review was positive.
But did it get him the win?
Voting for the six finalists opened right after the show ended at 10 p.m. (EST). Whether or not Ibena won, as was deemed most likely by the oddsmakers, or whether Forte took the night (per Mel B's prediction) will be unknown until the show's season finale on Wednesday evening. In the end, Judge Howie Mandel's not-so-subtle hints that Williamson and Ibena's creativity should be given consideration as opposed to the stage productions of the musicians might pull in enough votes for either of the two win the $1 million headliner job at the MGM Grand.
Regardless, everyone will find out when "America's Got Talent" airs at 9 p.m. Wednesday evening, Sept. 18, for a star-studded, two-hour results finale to reveal the winner.