‘AGT’ Season 13 Finals Recap

Julia Delbel
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It’s the last week of America’s Got Talent Season 13, and tonight the ten finalists left it all on the Dolby stage. But who did the best? Who did the worst? And who deserves to win that million dollars?

Brian King Joseph

I thought Brian may have hit his peak last round, but tonight he somehow came back even stronger. Of course he played his heart out as usual and clearly had a blast doing it, but I also noted a ferocity in him that I didn’t see prior to tonight that made me enjoy the performance even more. The only problem I had with the act was that it was over-produced even more than before (which nearly drowned out the actual music he was playing) but that wasn’t Brian’s fault and it was an issue I had with at least half the acts tonight.

Daniel Emmet

Daniel somehow managed to get through each round by the skin of his teeth….could that mean he’ll be winning by a hair as well? I highly doubt it, but I’ll enjoy reveling in the conspiracy theory for one more day. I didn’t think the Ed Sheeran song showed off his voice particularly well, but that probably didn’t affect things too much either way since he’s highly unlikely to win, a fact I think he knows but doesn’t take away from his gratefulness to be in the finale.

Vicki Barbolak

Vicki seemed very nervous before her act, but during the performance itself she was probably the most relaxed I’ve seen her all season. She definitely made an impression with the swimsuit move, but even apart from that I think her set was one of the strongest she’s delivered this season. I don’t think she’ll win, but she has a legitimate shot at cracking that top five tomorrow.

Glennis Grace

This season’s finals have less singing acts than the last two, and I thought that might help contestants like Glennis who are talented vocalists, but not what I’d call remarkable. However, I think performing in a group with so many unique and memorable acts really showed just how “plain Jane” Glennis is in comparison. Yes, she can sing, but she hasn’t seemed to have developed her own unique brand yet, and as a result, she kind of faded into the woodwork here. The most memorable thing abut tonight’s song was that she was off-key in places, which doesn’t bode well for her chances (not that they were that great anyway, since she was on the bubble last week).


I’m just going to say it: tonight Zurcaroh proved (once again) that they are far and away the best act of the season and deserve to win. I was surprised to learn they weren’t already professionals, because in the four performances we’ve seen from them they seem like they could easily get on a Broadway or Vegas stage tomorrow with a full show all ready to go. In reality, I don’t think they’ll win tomorrow because the voters for these shows tend to connect with individual performers more than large groups, so the personal factor is a bit divorced with Zurcaroh. But man, I hope someone among the 12-ish million people who have been watching this season is a producer who is ready to launch them to stardom. They truly deserve it.

Samuel J. Comroe

Samuel did a great job ending his season on a high note. He’s always been funny, but I could tell he was saving some of his best material for the end and we got to see it tonight. I also thought it was cool how he came full circle, using his Tourette’s as a topic in his audition and now again in the finals. I’d normally be more annoyed by the pushing of a backstory like this but he’s made it an actual part of his act and from what I gather, most of his fans like him more for his comedy than being “inspirational”.

Courtney Hadwin

Courtney is one of the few singers this season who actually stands out to me. She’s captivating to watch for sure, and her voice certainly has potential. However, these last couple of performances have been a little too heavy on the screaming rather than the actual singing and I feel like tonight she kind of jumped the shark with the novelty factor. I had hope tonight the singing would be good because of the intro (I really liked that we got to see her sing slowly and soulfully, something we hadn’t gotten from her before) but then she went over-the-top extra with the screams to the point where I was getting concerned for her vocal health. I think she still had a good chance of winning tomorrow, but I feel like she peaked in the quarter-finals and has just been trying to amp up the “wild child” factor in her more recent performances, which has sadly taken away from the quality of them.

Shin Lim

At the beginning of the season, a lot of people (including Simon) were concerned that a card trick-only magician would get stale quickly. Well, now here we are in the finals and I think Shin has only gotten better. He’s added new elements to each performance to keep the audience on their toes. Unlike some of the other variety acts which have started to feel a bit same-old, same-old, Shin’s acts always feel fresh and exciting. I think he is going to finish in a very high place tomorrow and may even pull out the win.

Duo Transcend

Unfortunately, Duo Transcend seems to be the type of variety act that is limited in what they can do to change it up and raise the bar. I’ve always enjoyed them – tonight included – but there does seem to be some fatigue among viewers. Now, they barely moved forward from their semi-finals episode, so their chances of wining were and are very slim. But I liked that they just went up there and did their thing, incorporating a bit of a loose storyline and inverting their previous tricks a bit here and there (though the over-production got in the way of it to a degree).

Michael Ketterer

Of all the finalists with emotional backstories, Michael is the only one who I get the sense made it this far based on his life and personality more than his talent. He once again gave a decent-but-forgettable performance (I was expecting him to really go for some of those notes but he just sort of kept it subdued overall) and even Simon made it more about his family and work with children more than anything he actually did onstage. I’m hoping the audience is voting based on talent and not life stories, but I’m not counting a Michael victory based on goodwill votes out of the realm of possibility.

Be sure to tune in to NBC tomorrow night at 8/7c for the America’s Got Talent Season 13 finale, featuring guest performances and the crowning of the new champion.

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