America’s Got Talent: The Champions is almost here! In just four weeks we’ll be treated to performances by some of the most memorable acts not only from America’s Got Talent, but from other iterations of Got Talent around the world.
We now know who all 50 of the acts competing on the show are, and while this is an awesome line-up that’s sure to make for a great show, we have to say there are some absences that will definitely be felt when the show airs this winter. Here are six acts that we wish were participating in the spin-off.
It’s obvious there was recency bias prevalent in the casting decisions for this show (seriously, most of the AGT alumni on Champions competed on Seasons 10-13) so I was surprised to not see the most recent season’s second place act on the list of acts competing. Not only was Zurcaroh one of the most captivating acrobatic acts to watch, they also have the distinction of being the first act to receive a Golden Buzzer on two different versions of the program (first in France, and then in America) and they also made the finals on both shows. Surely an act who made Got Talent history like this should be on the version that supposedly features “the best of the best” but alas, they are not, and it really was a missed opportunity for the show.
2. William Close
Season 7 is often heralded as one of the best of the bunch by AGT fans, which is why it was so surprising to see only one act from that season – runner-up Tom Cotter – on Champions. If a second representative from Season 7 were to have been on, William Close would be a fantastic choice. The inventor and player of the Earth Harp – the largest string instrument in the world – delivered several breathtaking musical performances during his season, and finished the competition in third place. He’d have been a good addition to Champions because most of the musical offerings on the spin-off are pop and operatic-style singers, so he’d bring some variety to the genre, and his act is unique for any version of the program.
3. Mandy Harvey
Speaking of adding some variety to the music side of Champions, it was disappointing to see no representation from the singer-songwriter crowd, especially since that subgenre has been a pretty significant part of the recent seasons. Grace VanderWaal is probably the first name most people think of when talking about this trend on AGT, but she was filming a movie at the time of shooting (most of the AGT winners not included in the cast have either passed away or seemed busy with other projects at the time, which is why none of them have been included on this list). But with or without Grace on Champions, I think Mandy Harvey would have been a great addition to the cast.
Mandy was without a doubt one of the most memorable acts from Season 12, showing a fair amount of range in her singing and songwriting abilities in the four performances she gave us, not to mention doing so while being completely deaf. Her absence is especially surprising since six of the other nine Season 12 finalists (including everyone else in the top 5) is on the spin-off, plus every judge except Simon has at least one of their Golden Buzzers back for it (and Mandy was easily his best pick). I know I’ve moaned a bit about the recency bias, but when you look at the cast list, it seems wrong for Mandy Harvey to not be part of it.
4. The Castro Family
The Castro family – Manny, Lory, and children D’Angelo and Ruby – is a significant part of the history of AGT. These ballroom dancers and coaches competed in some form on three different seasons as part of dance groups (Miami All-Stars in Season 6 and The Untouchables in Season 7) and pairs (D’Angelo and Amanda and Jonas and Ruby in Season 8). And while never won the competition, they usually made it far and have since gone on to take other dance shows by storm, like So You Think You Can Dance and World of Dance. With Champions having a focus on celebrating the history of Got Talent, it would have only been fitting to have the talented Castro family represented on the show.
5. The Sacred Riana
This was something we brought up a lot while she was competing on Season 13, but I still maintain it would have made more sense to just bring The Sacred Riana on for Champions instead of having her compete on the main show. Her Asia’s Got Talent performances went viral, and even though her involvement in that show was swept under the rug when she was on AGT, may viewers knew about her victory in Asia and were upset to see someone who already won be permitted to participate in another version of the show. However, this wouldn’t be an issue on Champions, since it’s literal purpose is to have champions come together to compete.
Champions might have also helped with another hurdle Riana faced on AGT this past summer, difference in culture. Many American viewers didn’t understand the appeal of Riana’s style of magic and storytelling that resonated with the Asia’s Got Talent fanbase. However, one of the focuses of Champions will be having a variety of performers from across the globe all on one show, and as we’ve seen in the previews, the show won’t hold back on telling us about the achievements of the participants from wherever they hail. While we don’t know how much this would have helped endear Riana to an American audience, it likely would have at least helped viewers appreciate her act as an example of Asian pop culture.
There seems to be a Mandela effect-like popular belief that viral singing sensation Susan Boyle won Series 3 of Britain’s Got Talent. While she is certainly one of the most iconic acts in the history of the Got Talent franchise and has gone on to have a pretty successful career in music since her time on the show, she was actually the runner-up to dance troupe Diversity, another influential part of Got Talent in their own right.
Diversity’s members have toured the UK, appeared on various television shows and events, and have even spawned a “next generation” version of the group named DVJ, who were finalists on Britain’s Got Talent Series 12. While many of the original members have since left the group, what better time for a reunion than on AGT: The Champions? Or they could have joined forces with DVJ to form a super-group! Either way, it certainly would have been cool to see them go head-to-head with Susan for a grudge match of sorts nearly a decade later.
What acts would you have liked to see on America’s Got Talent: The Champions? Let us know in the comments below!