Episode Overview: There are no illusionist acts in the final four of this season of America's Got Talent, but NBC is about to perform some magic of its own: spinning two hours of material from essentially one piece of information. All there really is to do tonight is find out which of the four acts - Cas Haley, Butterscotch, Terry Fator, or Julienne Irwin - won the million dollars, but we have a lot of talent - and "talent" - to witness before we get there.
Oh, and the Hoff performs.
Although shows like America's Got Talent give exposure and opportunity to acts that might not otherwise ever get such a chance, there still is always the element of cruelty for the losers, isn't there? And tonight's finale starts with an act that seems even more cruel than usual: all of the Top Ten acts return to sing "Celebration." The choice of songs just seems to be a little salt in the wound for those groups that already know they won't be celebrating a million dollar win tonight, like The Glamazons, Sideswipe (who kick and jab their way through the audience) and The Duttons.
After that act, it's time for the first performance by one of the final four. Tonight, each of the final four will be performing with an established performing artist. The first act is Butterscoth, perfoming "Beautiful Girl" by and with Sean Kingston. It's a spirited performance, but the sound mix is a little off so the recorded music and vocals overwhelm Butterscotch's efforts, making it a little bit like her beatboxing was just tacked on as opposed to integrated into the song. Her grandmother delivers a taped greeting for Butterscotch, which elicits precisely the tearful reaction you would expect.
Terry Fator has a chance to perform next, and he's paired with Kermit the frog. His puppet does a James Taylor imitation and the two sing "You've Got a Friend." It's another truly solid performance from the ventriloquist. The judges are replaced by a trio of Muppets who deliver their own rather cryptic evaluation. After that, Miss Piggy delivers a taped congratulations for Terry.
Julienne Irwin gets to perform with Taylor Swift, also a teenage country artist, and, apparently, one of Julienne's favorites. It's a sweet performance and the two girls seem to have established a rapport while rehearsing. Martina McBride delivers her special message.
Another great pairing for the last performance: Cas Haley and UB40. This particular performance of "Red, Red Wine" felt a little wobbly, but you could see that if the group and Cas had more time to rehearse and work together, it could be a really great show. It's entertaining nonetheless, and Cas is thrilled to both work with them and to get a special message from Lionel Richie, who commends him on performance of "Easy" from a previous episode.
More filler: Quick Change returns to perform again. Although the woman slips and falls at the start, she's a trouper and finishes up her performance well. It's still oddly and thoroughly entertaining to watch this single-concept act.
And more filler: the judges fought all season! A montage of the battles between Piers Morgan and David Hasselhoff, and Sharon Osborne's walk-off.
And now, some news. Who's not winning a million dollars tonight? Julienne Irwin. She is sent off with a recap of her performance. It's disappointing for her, for sure, but she's young and talented and surely this isn't the end of the road for her.
Filler, filler: Stomp Out Loud performs. The crowd loves the act which is using boxes this evening.
It's time for more results. The next performer not winning a million dollars is Butterscotch. We see another montage and recap of her performances on the show.
More montage, this time of the quirkier acts that tried out for the show, like Thoth, the pogo guy, Sexy Techno Boy, and others. And in case the montage wasn't enough, the acts return to perform "We Are the Champions" as the "Audition All-Stars." Three words: Flaming pogo stick.The one guy who did a comedy act as a sassy grandmother is in the act, and I'm a little confused at his inclusion; while he might not have been good enough to move on, if I remember correctly he was somewhat funny, and not one of the weird trainwreck-type auditions.
And now, the Hoff performs a Broadway song. Mysteriously, my mute button became depressed during this section of the show and I was simply unable to take the mute off for the entire duration of his performance. Curious. It appeared to be quite emotional based on the hand gestures and facial expressions. Since I can't properly recap the song, I'll just leave you with this picture of the Hoff my colleague Oscar Dahl unearthed earlier in the America's Got Talent season. I'm sure the singing was just as entertaining as this picture. And music can in fact, sooth the savage beast, as the performance inspires Piers Morgan to state that despite their difference, "I love the Hoff." Indeed. Who doesn't?
Bianca Ryan, the last winner, now delivers a taped message to Cas Haley and Terry Fator, congratulating them on getting as far as they did. And, after additional, drawn-out delays and one last commercial break, we learn their fates.
Terry Fator is the winner! Cas is going home without the million dollar prize. Cas was my favorite, so this is disappointing to me, but Terry is very talented. As one of our BuddyTV commenters pointed out previously, the singers have many more opportunities after the show as there are simply more venues and ways for singers to have careers. For a ventriloquist, this might be one of the few chances he has to make the really big bucks, unless Terry is, as he hopes, able to start a renaissance of ventriloquism. He'll have a venue to make a shot at it: as part of his prize, he'll be headlining at a club in Vegas, like he's always wanted.
Here's hoping he finds the continued success he desires, as do Cas, Butterscotch, Julienne and all the other performers.
So what do you think of the results? Was it what you expected and wanted? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of NBC, ModernFads)