After five weeks of emotional ups and downs, America’s Got Talent fans settled in for the final performances of the new Champions series last night. And the judges had a few surprises planned for the big night.
As the two-part finale began, the list of acts competing for the top spot was dominated by singers - from Spain’s Christina Ramos to the UK’s Susan Boyle and America’s own Angelica Hale.
But the judges also brought back two "Wildcard" competitors of their choice, who shook up the competition at the last minute.
Ventriloquist and singer Darci Lynne and NFL-player-turned-magician Jon Dorenbos were chosen to rejoin the competition, probably because they earned the most votes from viewers in this season’s auditions.
Meanwhile, the judges also became part of the show when they posed as living targets for the stunt duo Deadly Games. Simon, Heidi, Mel, Howie, and host Terry Crews held up white balloons as the couple took aim with a crossbow.
Of course, the dangerous shot went off without a hitch, but it was just the kind of thrilling performance Deadly Games has given us throughout the show.
When Darci Lynne Farmer returned to the stage she brought her trusty rabbit puppet Petunia, who belted out an operatic selection that brought the audience to their feet.
Ksenia Simonova, the artist who makes moving paintings from sand to tell emotional stories, tugged at the judges’ heartstrings again with a new and tragic tale about a couple caught up in a war.
Other standout performers included Shin Lim, the magician and reigning AGT champion, and Susan Boyle, who paid tribute to the audition that made her an overnight star with a new performance of "I Dreamed A Dream" from Les Miserables.
With so many great performances, there's no telling who will take home the grand prize on next week's finale. Who are you rooting for?
The new episode also coincided with a very special announcement about the upcoming season of AGT: judges Mel B and Heidi Klum will be leaving their chairs, while two new celebrity judges join the panel.
Actress Gabrielle Union (Bad Boys II) and Julianne Hough (Dancing with the Stars) will join Simon Cowell and Howie Mandel next season.
Terry Crews, who replaced Tyra Banks as the judge for the Champions series, will also hold on to the microphone for the fourteenth season of AGT as well.
The winner of America’s Got Talent: The Champions will be crowned next Monday, February 18, and 8 p.m. ET/PT.