'America's Got Talent' Top 12 Preview: The Cream of the Crop Take the Stage
'America's Got Talent' Top 12 Preview: The Cream of the Crop Take the Stage
Bill King
Bill King
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
After 11 months, 57 rounds and 145 episodes (or at least that's what it feels like), America's Got Talent season 8 is down to its final 12 acts.

And while I think America got it wrong in eliminating Timber Brown, wasting my first-ever 11 votes and denying me elusive perfection in the process, this is who you decided you wanted to give a shot at winning a million bucks. And to be honest, the competition for a spot in the finals is wide open.

UPDATE: For those of you wondering how President Barack Obama's prime-time speech about the Syrian conflict will affect AGT (obviously people can't vote for acts they can't see!), the show will begin immediately after the speech on the east coast. This also means the episode may run past the normal end time, so if you're relying on a DVR, make sure you set it to record the 11 p.m. half hour as well.

For half of the 12 acts, this will be the end of the line. But the other half will move on to a mind-boggling sixth performance (fifth if he, she or they automatically went through in Vegas) and a chance at the summer's grandest prize.

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Let's take a look at who is set to take the stage and break down their chances. 

First up, there are four acts that I think have separated themselves from the pack.

Kenichi Ebina: For me, this guy is the favorite to win it all after a second-straight ingenious performance in the semifinals. What he is able to accomplish in terms of originality and precision is nothing short of phenomenal. 

Forte: These three tenors have been consistently amazing since day one, with goosebump-inducing performance after goosebump-inducing performance. And while they've only been great, it is a tiny bit difficult to decipher one song from the next. 

Cami Bradley: A couple of weeks ago, I said that Cami seemed too good to be true and asked anyone who knew her to spill the beans. One reader tracked me down on Facebook and sent me a message, and it pretty much sums up why she'll be in the finals:

"Everyone loves Cami. I and thousands of others have been blessed to hear her sing for years. AGT is just a taste. Oh and by the way, Eric is her rock, and he is multi-talented too! Unless you're Jesus himself, don't go looking to steal her away. She has a heart of gold."

So apparently, she'd consider leaving her husband for Jesus, though it doesn't seem very Christ-like to go stealing a perfectly decent man's wife. So I'll cross this off my wish list and just offer a broken leg with the original spin she'll put on whatever song she picks. 

Chicago Boyz: I worry about their chances of winning, but they bring an energy previously unseen, possibly in the show's history. They're immensely talented, incredibly precise and infectiously likable. 

Then there's the acts that should be competing for one of the other two spots in the finals.

Taylor Williamson: I've never been a huge fan of his material, but he's got an affable personality and won over a lot of people with his witty Heidi Klum-inspired set and banter. I expect more of the same, so he really could go either way.

Collins Key: He's got quite a following and cool tricks that I can't figure out, but he needs to pull everything together for a flawlessly entertaining night. He needs to go big, but also must be concise with it. He needs to ramp up his showmanship, but also make sure the pacing is perfect.

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The KriStef Brothers: The strongman act with personality, these guys overcame a pretty serious injury to secure a spot in the top 12. I'd like to see a few more tricks, though, and a bit less fake sword swallowing.

Jimmy Rose: America loves Jimmy Rose like both entities love coal. I don't think there's anything particularly special about his voice, but voters have repeatedly disagreed. He's gotten the pimp spot on two separate occasions, which likely boosted his total. I think, for him more than anyone, show placement will determine success and also reveal how much the producers want him to get through.

Finally, there's the four acts that really have their work cut out for them, but at this point, anything can happen. A bad performance from anyone above could mean doom and another available spot. 

Catapult: They're a bit of a wildcard after they were completely overhyped for their Newtown-inspired performance and then brought back down to earth with their under-the-sea whale rescue. I've said all along they have a cool gimmick but that others have done it better. The story they try to tell will be crucial.

Innovative Force: I've been a fan of them since the beginning because I like their originality and daring tricks, but they were sloppy and clunky last time we saw them. If they have a clean run and wow us with some dangerous stunts, they could move up a lot.

D'Angelo and Amanda: They've had a bit of an up-and-down run, and the pressure is on them to deliver as memorable a performance as they did in the quarterfinals. They got the least number of votes of the advancing acts in their semifinal group, which means they've got a lot of ground to make up. 

Branden James: If Jonathan Allen couldn't make it out of Forte's formidable shadow, can this guy?

Those are your final 12 acts vying for a spot in the finals. Which ones are you most excited to see again? And who do you think will stick around to compete for the title?

You can watch America's Got Talent Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 9pm on NBC.

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(Image courtesy of NBC)