‘America’s Got Talent’ Season 13 Finale Recap

Julia Delbel
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What. Just. Happened??? Was that finale even real? I’m pinching myself, because this America’s Got Talent season 13 finale certainly had a lot of surprises that I’m still wondering whether or not it was real life.

I mean this all the best of ways, of course. All season long I’ve campaigned for variety to be celebrated on AGT and for the voters to rebel against possible agendas from certain judges. But after the last couple of years I was feeling like my efforts were in vain. But tonight? Well, let’s take a look at what exactly went down this evening.

The first three quarters or so of this two-hour finale were filled with fun skits and guest performances. Some of the highlights were Michael Ketterer singing the highly-anticipated song Garth Brooks wrote for him, Shin Lim pulling in Tyra, Matt Iseman, and Akbar Gbajbiamila in for a trick, Lindsey Stirling joining Brian King Joseph to provide musical accompaniment for Duo Transcend, and, perhaps best of all, Samuel J. Comroe and Howie helping Mel B try stand-up comedy for the first time!


Finally it came time for the results. The acts were called up to the front of the stage in pairs, with one going through to the top five and the other being eliminated.

  • First, Zurcaroh advanced over Duo Transcend. The couple seemed to take their elimination pretty well, exiting the stage with smiling faces.
  • Next, Brian King Joseph advanced and Glennis Grace was eliminated. I’m sure her fans back in the Netherlands were devastated, but unfortunately the show only allows voting from American locations.
  • We then saw Daniel Emmet get cut and Shin Lim move forward. After seeing Shin advance through every round with flying colors and Daniel scrape by each time, this one was kind of a no-brainer.
  • The two comedians were called up next, and Samuel J. Comroe moved on over Vicki Barbolak. This one could have gone either way, and I was actually almost expecting it to be one of those terrible “neither of you” results (thank goodness we didn’t get any of those this season) because I thought the other two left standing were both shoo-ins for the top five.
  • The last spot came down to Michael Ketterer and Courtney Hadwin. I was extremely surprised one of them was going to be eliminated before the top five, and it ended up being Courtney, who had been a frontrunner throughout the season but I sensed was losing steam in the last couple of rounds. We can’t say she didn’t make a big impact on the season, though.

We then found out the final placements in reverse order.


5th Place: Michael Ketterer

This was possibly even more shocking to me than Courtney not making it to the top five. Michael seemed to be the kind of contestant middle America would just eat up, so among the five remaining I was expecting him to place at least in the top three. However, I’m glad the other four beat him out because as great a guy as Michael seems to be I really got the feeling people were voting for him moreso because of the inspiration factor than his actual singing.

4th Place: Samuel J. Comroe

I knew there was a chance Samuel would crack the top five, but I didn’t think he’d place any higher than that. But loking back at everything he did this season – especially this week – I think it was a well-deserved spot for him.

3rd Place: Brian King Joseph

Brian has been such a joy to watch all season, and if we’re barely going to have instrumentalists on this show, I’m glad the one we did get this season made it this far. I hope his career takes off from here because he really is amazing!

2nd Place: Zurcaroh

The highest-placing Golden Buzzer of the season! They really were the most professional-level act this year (moreso than the actual professionals in the competition) and even though they didn’t quite nab that victory, they’ll surely ave their own show in the near future!

Winner: Shin Lim

After exactly zero magic acts made it to the finals last season, I thought it would be so great to see the genre come back in a big way in Season 13. I never thought a magician (or any non-singing act, to be honest) would win since Simon joined the panel, but Shin managed to win enough of the audience over to take it home. There was concern at the beginning from some that card tricks would get old quickly, but Shin proved those people wrong by showing just how versatile this genre of magic can be.

Not only that, Shin is the first non-golden buzzer act to win in four years (AKA ever since the golden buzzer’s current purpose came into play back in Season 10) and he managed to do it without ever getting the coveted pimp spot at the end of an episode!

Season 13 ended up turning out differently than a lot of us expected, but after the last two seasons of predictability, this year ended up being a refreshing change of pace in the end, with nearly no minors competing in the finale (talented kids are great, but it was nice to see a variety of ages up there tonight) and the top four consisting entirely of variety acts, each in a different genre.

Stay tuned for more AGT end-of season coverage in the coming days, as well as The Voice Season 15 coverage staring on Monday. We’ll also be covering America’s Got Talent: The Champions staring in January! Thanks to our readers for another great season of America’s Got Talent here at Talent Recap!

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