The basic idea behind the latest season of America’s Got Talent, called The Champions, is that the best of the best acts from around the world are competing to win.
But this season has actually felt like a free for all, where it seems impossible to predict who will go on to the final round until the dust settles and the votes are counted.
While beloved acts like singer Susan Boyle and stunt performers Deadly Games have already earned their pass to the finals, fan favorites like ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer have failed to impress the judges or "Super Fan" voters.
The same narrative continued in the last auditions episode before next week’s grand finale, as beloved acts duked it out for the final two spots on the big show.
Shin Lim, the sleight of hand magician who won top prize in last year’s competition, wowed the crowd again with color-changing close-up card tricks.
Heidi Klum called the performance "mind-blowing," and Super Fans obviously agreed. They gave Lim a pass to the finals, where he’ll face off with acts like 11-year-old double Golden Buzzer winner Angelica Hale.
But Jackie Evancho, one of the most successful former AGT stars, did not have much luck in her dramatic return to the show’s stage.
Evancho, a singer, was season two’s runner-up, but went on to find success performing both classical and modern songs, and released seven best selling albums.
While her take on "Music of the Night" from The Phantom of the Opera earned a standing ovation, both the judges and the Super Fan voters let Evancho down. That’s despite the fact that the judges agreed Evancho was better than ever.
Evancho thanked fans for their support after the episode aired, but also seemed to take issue with how her performance was edited for TV.
"Thank you for the love and support over my @AGT performance tonight," she wrote.
"I’m very proud but I'm sorry you didn't get to hear my most favorite part & the highest notes of the performance that was edited out! I'm bummed."
In the end, artist Kseniya Simonova from Ukraine was the one to earn the final Golden Buzzer - from host Terry Crews - after she impressed the crowd with her delicate and emotional sand painting.
Another standout act was Attraction, a shadow theatre troupe from Britain’s Got Talent who told a moving story about coming to America using only their bodies to form the scenery. They also got the crowd on their feet, and came in second during the Super Fan voting.
Here are the 10 acts competing in next week’s season finale:
- Susan Boyle, singer
- Deadly Games, daredevils
- Angelica Hale, singer
- Kechi Okwuchi, singer
- Preacher Lawson, comedian
- Christina Ramos, singer
- Paul Potts, singer
- Kseniya Simonova, artist
- Shin Lim, magician
- Brian Justin Crum, singer
The acts will perform for the last time on Monday, February 11 at 8 EST, while the results show will air later next week.
[H/T: USA Today]