It was Monday’s final countdown — as indicated by the evening’s soundtrack, provided by Swedish hair metal band Europe — when NBC aired the last episode of America’s Got Talent: All-Stars preliminary performance. Unlike the last five episodes, the judges no longer had the power to save a contestant via the Golden Buzzer, meaning there was only one final spot left to fill. And that finalist would be chosen not by the judging panel, but by an elite mysterious group of “superfans” voting across the country.
So, that was it THE worst bracket ever for any of this season’s remaining hopefuls – or non-hopes, as the case may be – to be in, because if there was Anyone week the show should have been able to advance two contestants, this was it. The series has literally saved some of the best for last. In any other week, a place could easily have gone to the young Kazakh singer and Eurovision/The Voice Kids Ukraine veteran Daneliya Tuleshova, whom Judge Heidi Klum called “all-around gorgeous” and Howie Mandel called “absolutely phenomenal”, or to the fierce and fiery rapper Flau’Jae, who was signed to Roc Nation after competing in AG extension Season 13 returned to the show this week as “a beast to be reckoned with” and an “MVP,” according to Mandel.
But in the end, only three of Monday’s contestants really had a chance, and only one of them would make it.
Among those three was (super)fan-favorite Josh Blue, who in season 16 was on his way to becoming the first comedian ever to win AG extension before surprisingly placing third. On Monday, Blue received a standing ovation from the roaring audience as soon as he appeared, before even cracking a single line, and when he stated, “I wanted to go back to the crime scene, because I got robbed,” everyone seemed to agree with he. (On perhaps the most controversial and disappointing ending of AG extension story, Blue lost to mediocre wizard Dustin Tavella, who couldn’t make it All Stars final or even his All Stars the first three of this season’s episode.) A “on his feet boy who often falls,” Blue, who has cerebral palsy, held a hilariously self-deprecating routine about raising children as a disabled person, and had the fellow comedian Mandel who proclaimed, “Laughter is the best medicine. … And you are the cure. You are the medicine. You gave us what we needed more than anything.
And then there was a real one AG extension winner, Brandon Leake of season 15. (There weren’t many He’s good samples on All Stars this year, and most who entered, like Tavella, didn’t advance.) The spoken word artiste competed during the 2020 pandemic season, when production was delayed due to COVID concerns – she actually had to audition in an empty venue, and this week’s performance was actually her first for a live AG extension public — and her vulnerable autobiographical poems about loss, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the complexities of fatherhood and family have resonated during such a difficult time. When Leake returned this week with a piece about a perspective-changing encounter with a homeless man, his art seemed more relevant than ever. Mandel gave him a standing ovation and even credited him with opening doors for poets like Amanda Gorman. Leake was actually Mandel’s choice of Golden Buzzer in season 15, but unfortunately there was no buzzer available for him this time around.
But then, came Season 14’s winner, and arguably the most beloved winner of all AG extension Season: Kodi Lee. And it was pretty obvious how this was going to turn out. “Now, This he’s an all-star,” said Simon Cowell, while presenter Terry Crews called Lee an “icon”.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard the audience so loud!” Klum marveled, as the songwriter/pianist, who now headlines the AG extension residency in Las Vegas, he took the stage looking like a rock star in his silver jacket and was warmly greeted with crowd chants of “Kodi! Kodi! Kodi!”
Music expert Lee, who is both blind and autistic, became an instant sensation in 2019 with his Golden Buzzer audition of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You,” which racked up more than 430 million views online and became the most viral moment of the US series ever. On Monday, Cowell recalled that the judges were “on the edge of our seats” on that historic day, concerned Lee wouldn’t be able to handle the pressure of a televised performance — before, of course, Lee pulled off a “magical , magical moment.”
“People always ask me this question: ‘What were your first three or four auditions?’ And every single time we always mention your audition, Kodi,” Cowell noted.
After Lee was blown away again with an exquisite rendition of Calum Scott’s “Biblical,” Mandel told him, “There’s no other word to describe what you do but ‘amazing’ and you’re truly awesome. You truly are an all-star.
Klum, who hadn’t been a judge on Lee’s season and was having the pleasure of seeing Lee compete for the first time, said, “I feel my heart double when I hear you sing. … I feel like AG extension it is what it is because of people like you.
“I really agree with Heidi,” Cowell added. “It’s the people we met along the way that made this show so special. And Kodi, you are one of those artists who will always be great. There will never come a year where you say, “Kodi is no longer good.” … You will always be better. Your performances will always be fascinating. And you really, honestly define what an all-star is.
And so, Lee, who according to Cowell was “in a different league,” won the superfan vote, while Leake finished second and poor Blue again had to settle for third place. This wasn’t a surprising result; honestly, if Lee I hadn’t advanced, viewers likely would have been more outraged than Beyoncé fans were at Harry Styles’ upset Album of the Year win at the previous night’s Grammy Awards. But if there was the Golden Buzzer in play this week, I have a feeling it would have gone to the Blue. And the fact that both Blue and Leake went home this Monday, while the All Stars the finals will feature some relatively forgettable contenders, it was frustrating. THE AG extension the makers really screwed up the formatting of this spin-off series.
Along with the aforementioned Tuleshova and Flau’Jae, other contestants who were immediately eliminated on Monday were magician Eric Chien, Voices of Hope Children’s Choir, dog act Lukas & Falco and sword eater Brett Loudermilk. Perhaps less frustrating but certainly just as predictable, the episode’s worst-rescued novelty act, Prankster Sethward, also didn’t make the cut. But the absurd scene comic, who competed the most AG extension seasons of any other competitor, he set his own personal best. This time, he arrived in a mangy goat costume and challenged the judges: “Do you think you could have done this? All Stars without the GOAT? – and then promptly received his 12th red X, because That some sort of buzzer was still in play this week. “No one has gotten more buzzers than me!” Sethward boasted. And that made him an all-star, in his own way, on his terms.
So now, Lee, along with dance troupe Light Balance Kids, hand balancing trio The Bello Sisters, Detroit Youth Choir, comedian Mike E. Winfield, saxophonist Avery Dixon, magician Aidan McCann, lead singer Tom Ball, ventriloquist Ana Maria Mărgean and trapeze artist acts Aidan Bryant and Power Duo, is directed to the America’s Got Talent: All-Stars the final. Do Anyone of those other acts have a chance to beat Lee? Probably not, but tune in and find out, when the All Stars the finale airs February 20.
Read more from Yahoo Entertainment:
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