Season 9 Episode 24
"Season 9 Finale Performances"
With a million dollar prize at stake, each of the remaining six acts must give the performances of their lives to win America's votes...[button color="red" size="small" link="http://www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent" target="blank" ]Official Site[/button]
It all comes down to a very simple proposition: the act that can provide the biggest thrill for America tonight will claim a million-dollar prize and a high-profile residency in Las Vegas.
Manhattan's Radio City Music Hall is buzzing. Over the next two hours, the capacity crowd and Howie, Howard, Heidi and Mel will witness 12 live performances, as each act will debut a new routine and reprise a favorite past performance. The judges give us some brief preliminary thoughts, and just like that Quintavious Johnson is directed to the stage.
The boy amazed us from the start and hasn't had a letdown since - and he's not about to start tonight. For his first number, Quintavious reprises his stirring "I'd Rather Go Blind" from the semifinals. His take is every bit as powerful and soulful as his original version. After a huge finish, Nick sums up the sentiment perfectly: "I think we should leave you up there to sing all night!"
Mat Franco steps into the spotlight next. He reprises a whirlwind sleight-of-hand routine from his audition. It's a dazzling display of close-up magic, a blur of balls, clanging cups and a running, rhyming commentary that has everyone transfixed. Howard thinks that, as the sole magician in the field, Mat's got a better than even chance to take it all.
Emily West returns to the stage to reprise her "Chandelier." She wears a crimson dress, one that billows thirty feet from side to side on the stage. Her performance is controlled, yet powerful. As a circle of string players adds accompaniment, Emily takes the song over the top, bringing the audience to its feet. Howard and Heidi love it, though Howie and Mel both think her earlier version of the song was superior.
Miguel Dakota steps up next. He's set to perform the song that took him into the semifinals: "Seven Nation Army." In a taped package, he tells us that he used to sing this song all the time for his family; tonight he dedicates it to them. His reprise may have even more strut, sway and swagger than his original take; the young singer has clearly grown in range and, more importantly, in confidence. Still the judges are split on whether this performance eclipsed the original.
Next, the Sons of Serendip come out to reprise their "Somewhere Only We Know." The unique ensemble again delivers a pitch perfect blend of instrumental accompaniment and soulful vocals. They receive a warm response from the audience, but the judges are less sanguine on their performance. Howard wonders if their somewhat subdued image might hinder America's inclination to vote for them. They still have one performance remaining tonight. Can they pull out all the stops?
AcroArmy invades the stage next. They perform their routine to "Unstoppable" and it's even more powerful than the first time they unveiled it. Pyro effects, lighting bolts projected behind them, dramatic music – they all add up to an overwhelming display of grace and force. Howie declares we should "give them gold medal right now!" Howard wonders if their dramatic aerial acts are not translating as well to television as they are in person.
Mat Franco returns to the stage for an all-new trick and it's a doozy. He shuffles a deck of cards and has Howard Stern sort them sight unseen into two piles, those he guesses are red and the other black. He calls Mel B. to the stage where she must do the same, though with audience members on the stage who are holding cards with their faces hidden from Mel. Howard and Mel finish their sorting. Mat turns up Howard's cards and amazingly reveals that Howard has sorted them all correctly - except one. He calls on the audience members on stage to reveal their cards. Somehow, they too have been sorted correctly - except for the exact same card, the three of clubs. Everyone is blown away.
The pressure's on as the Sons of Serendip return to center stage for their second and final performance of the night. Before a mysterious blue waterfall background, they launch into a haunting take on Evanescence's "Bring Me to Life." The harmonies are delicately blended, the string arrangements are perfect and the audience is soon cheering as the song builds to a delicate crescendo. The crowd and the judges are on their feet. "I want to buy your album right now," says Mel B. "Me too!" shouts Heidi.
And the talent keeps coming. Quintavious Johnson is back in the spotlight. The little kid with the giant voice proclaims, "I want to win more than I want to do anything." Wearing a scarlet bow tie and a crisp white shirt and dark suit, Quintavious looks like anything other than a sixth grader as he launches into The Beatles' classic "Let It Be." It's a challenging song for anyone, but the young singer does not shrink back, instead throwing himself headlong into the song, reaching for high notes, belting the lyrics and then pulling himself back into control. Again, it's a showstopper.
Next, it's Miguel Dakota's time to try to top his earlier performance. With just an acoustic guitar strapped around his neck, the hearthrob singer begins a chilling take on Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." It's a spare but powerful vehicle for his distinct voice. Miguel builds the song's intensity, scoring high notes and swaying in place. It's a tour de force for sure; Howard declares it Miguel's strongest performance yet. The other judges agree.
AcroArmy comes out for their last shot. Immediately they're pushing their limits: more pyro, more acrobatics (including flying over the judges' heads, tumbling in tandem and a human pyramid four persons tall. It's a no-holds-barred performance that leaves the crowd electrified and the judges almost speechless. Again, a succeeding act has raised the bar even higher.
Finally, Emily West reappears. The torch singer is all confidence and glamour in her evening dress and steady gaze. She eases into the Roberta Flack classic, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." It's a sensual, emotional reading of the song and one she shapes perfectly. As projection effects surround her and even a faux rainstorm streams down, she keeps pushing the song to new places, edging it ever higher to an emotional crescendo. No matter where she ends up in the voting, Emily West has clearly given it all tonight. The judges have nothing but high praise. Howie calls out her risk-taking in her choice and delivery of the song. Howard is equally impressed. "You are the greatest," he tells her. Mel agrees: "If that can't win you a million bucks, I don’t know what can."
The polls are officially opened and now America has some tough choices to make; this may be the most talented group of finalists in the show's history. The judges, the performers and the audience are all exhausted as they start to make their way out of Radio City Music Hall. Tonight has been a special night. And even though one act will claim the title tomorrow, tonight they can all take pride in an evening of extraordinary entertainment.