Cue up the music, fill those confetti rockets with shredded bits of paper, and have Nick Cannon ready his longest dramatic pause, because the time to crown the champion of America’s Got Talent season 10 is finally here!

'America's Got Talent' Season 10 Finale: And the Winner Is...

On this, the 30th episode of the anniversary season, one of 10 acts will walk away with a cool $1 million (payable in a financial annuity over 40 years, or the contestant may choose to receive the present cash value of such an annuity) and a future headline show in Las Vegas that will last at least, like, three days.

But even though there are 11 men (14 if you count Paul’s puppets … Ira must be jealous) who could be crowned the king(s) of summer, let’s not kid ourselves that all chances are created equal. There are only a handful with the real potential to win, solidified by the fact that so many came up woefully short in their final performances. 

Any predictions I could offer would be like pulling guesses out of Derek Hughes’ hat, which Oz Pearlman would already know are wrong, and it’s impossible to say with certainty what will or even should happen in a competition as wide open as the gap Stevie Starr sucks anything and everything through.

But here are my very unlucky and likely inaccurate two cents, regurgitated. 

Separating the Contenders from the Pretenders

Based on a combination of Tuesday night and the season as a whole, I think it’s a safe bet that Benton Blount, Gary Vider, Uzeyer Novruzov, Derek Hughes, and Oz Pearlman are eliminated and will hopefully be the first five gone. 

And that leaves five acts who are all worthy in their own right. The CraigLewis Band has been consistently show-stopping all season long, but unfortunately, this is not the year of the vocalist. With so many other singing competitions, the vote totals have shown AGT is now about variety acts more than music. 

And that means the winner will be either:

–Our first comedian

–Our second ventriloquist

–Our first magic dragon (and the second ever to exist) or

–Our first, er, guy who swallows stuff and then coughs it back up

I could argue the positives and negatives of each, but at the end of the day, I’d be on board with any of them. Drew Lynch is the least polished, and based purely on talent, he probably doesn’t deserve it. But he’s always been more inspiration and likability than gut-busting comedy, and considering he saved his best set for last, I couldn’t get too angry.

My heart lies with a guy from Britain who is decently well-known across the pond and a guy from Scotland making his sixth worldwide Got Talent appearance, which seems like a strange mix. But they are responsible for the top two performances of the season, and I believe they’re the most likely to find post-show success. 

But my gut tells me it’s Drew, and esteemed colleague Derek Stauffer agrees.

Still, is it wrong that I’m partly rooting against a kid with a stutter who has brought hope to millions who suffer from a disability? Oh well, you guys voted off the blind kid. Now on with the show!

By this point, you all know how it works. The blog is live, so keep those comments coming as we finish this journey together. 

The Live Blog Begins Now

I hope you’ve got some popcorn popped, your (potentially alcoholic hump day) beverage of choice (provided you are of legal age, of course) at the ready, and a seat belt, because we’re in for a wild ride of filler entertainment before we learn who’s headed to Sin City.

All our finalists will be performing with the celebrities who only agreed to this in order to promote something, and here’s to hoping Pitbull isn’t about to drop a new album.

Nick Cannon, rocking a surprisingly traditional tuxedo, welcomes us to the finale and introduces this particular collection of judges for the last time. Then it’s on to a recap of the final performances, which was directly preceded by an hour-long recap show that recapped the recap of the recap. With a recap. Or something like that. 

The CraigLewisYolanda Band

The dynamic duo is teaming up with Gospel powerhouse Yolanda Adams for a stirring rendition of Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is.” Yolanda isn’t the top Billboard artist over the last decade for nothing, and while there are goose bumps for days, there’s just something that doesn’t quite work about three GIGANTIC voices trying to occupy the same space at the same time. It’s like a competition to determine whose screams can sound better. 

On a side note, since they reveal results throughout the show, this doesn’t bode well for CraigLewis and the others who perform early. They don’t want someone out there on stage who has just been eliminated. 

Derek and Oz and Mat and Piff and Penn and Teller

Now six magicians on stage at one time? That could be interesting. But first, it’s time for one final stop in the Dunkin’ Lounge, where the magic happens, the doughnuts have holes and the holes are doughnuts. 

Oz is out first, and instead of mentalist-ing, he’s going to do a card trick. Only his cards are invisible. He has Heidi pick up and destroy a bunch of fake cards, but one is indestructible titanium. Heidi “finds” it and has to visualize what it is, and Oz pulls out a card. Heidi chooses the three of hearts, and Oz flips the card to show it’s the same one.

Next, Mat Franco and Derek Hughes will try some mentalism. They each have a stack of cards with pictures of celebrities, who are all set to appear on Mat’s magic special Thursday night. Matt picks Mel B., and Derek sorts through a stack of Mel B. cards. Then they both end up with matching Neil Patrick Harrises. 

Piff drops from the ceiling to center stage, where he is joined by Penn and Teller. They do their best Piff impression before Penn has Heidi pick a card that Mel B. signs. He shuffles the cards and hands them to Piff, who wraps the deck in flash paper. He stabs it with a tiny sword, the paper goes up in flames, and the knife is through Heidi’s card. 

And Piff brought sandwiches for everyone. 

Uzeyer and Freelusion Go Old School

Since Uzeyer is too injured to do much, Freelusion offered to perform with him, and it starts off with an old-time silent film and some dude playing on a projected piano. Then there’s some dancing, Uzeyer appears, and they toss projected ladders at him. 

It might actually be one of Freelusion’s most fun performances to date. Still not quite sure what all that robot stuff was about.

Howard busts out the emotion, telling Nick Cannon that working with him over the years has been nothing short of a joy. Cue the montage of Nick being the host with the most. Give this guy an Emmy already!

A Comedy Trifecta

Since we have two comedians in the finals, Drew Lynch and Gary Vider are going to roast each other. But they’re so nice that they just insult themselves, and so roastmaster general Jeffrey Ross is going to help out. 

He’s wondering why he’s on “Last Comic Stammering,” and Gary is crazy if he thinks he can beat a kid with a disability. And if Gary’s delivery were any slower, it would come with a free pizza from Domino’s. Then he jabs the judges and Donald Trump before turning things back over to the newbs.

“Jeff, you look like Howie Mandel if Howie stopped trying.” — Gary

“Jeff, you and Howie could never shake hands, because he’s a germaphobe and you’re disgusting.” — Drew (stutters removed, of course)

Now go download Jeff’s special! It’s why he’s here, dammit!

Penn and Teller to the Regurgitating Rescue

Stevie Starr needs some help for this one, so Penn and Teller head back on stage to make fish appear. But they’re too big for Stevie to swallow, so he brings out his own. 

He opens up a film case and has Penn sign it, then he swallows the lid, a goldfish, then the container. Inside his belly, he puts the fish into the case, tops it with the lid and coughs it all back up. Then he returns the fish to his original water. He should’ve done that one in the competition. 

Next, it’s off to the Buzzed Support Group, where the worst of seasons’ past gather to help each other cope under the direction of the great Jerry Springer. The illustrious group includes a old singer, the guy who squirts milk out his eye, the professional hugger, a terrible ballerina, levitating Special Ed and, sadly, the guys from Triple Threat. It all ends with Juan Carlos, the bane of my Season 9 existence. 

Enough is enough.  

Benton’s Fight Song

Mr. Blount is up next, paired with Rachel Platten for a performance of “Fight Song,” which he covered earlier this season. He’s ditched the guitar for a straight duet, and this song works no matter how ill-matched their voices might be. 

There is no semblance of harmony, but who cares? Try to get it out of your head the rest of the night. And guess what? Rachel has a new single, and her debut album will be dropping shortly. 

Additionally, anyone else picking up on some weird sexual chemistry between Nick and Rachel. Perhaps they’ll be “celebrating” together after the show. Bow chica wow wow. Yaay singledom. 

A Bunch of Dummies

Since Terry Fator also has a Thursday primetime special to plug, he’s returning to where it all began to join Paul Zerdin for some dueling ventriloquism. Paul has a back and forth with Sam about how ugly he is before Terry joins the party for a couple of standard puppet proctology jokes. 

Terry sings some Elvis while his Elvis-impersonating puppet lip syncs along (“like Britney Spears”), and then he lets Sam get a note or two in before they speculate about Terry’s future in the business.

Before we get to the first results, it’s a season 10 highlight montage to Bill Medley’s “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” Nobody puts Howie in the corner. 

The Top 5 Revealed

Nick calls out Derek Hughes and Oz Pearlman, and only one of them is moving forward. After a paltry 11 second dramatic pause…

Oz Pearlman is in the top 5

Next to learn their fates are Drew Lynch and Gary Vider, and Jeff Ross called this one an hour ago. Thirteen seconds later…

Drew Lynch is in the top 5

Uzeyer Novruzov and the Professional Regurgitator step forward, and following a measly eight seconds…

Stevie Starr is in the top 5

The CraigLewis Band and Benton Blount are squaring off for a spot, and this one stretches on for 11 seconds.

The CraigLewis Band is in the top 5

And in a rather shocking twist, only Piff the Magic Dragon and Paul Zerdin remain for the final spot. Either will be a disappointing elimination, but only one can win, so it’s all a bit moot in the end. After 14 seconds of drama…

Paul Zerdin is in the top 5

Mr. Piffles is now Mr. Sniffles, but Piff assures us that dragons still love America.

One More Cut and a Tribute to Howard

One more act is headed home before we move forward, so it’s time to find out who is finishing in fifth place. Nick pauses an astounding 18 seconds before the results are revealed.

The CraigLewis Band finishes in 5th place

The judges offer their condolences, but there’s no time to dilly dally. It’s time to bid a fond farewell to America’s Judge.

Things won’t be the same without Howard, but the show must go on. Any speculation on who you’d like to see as a replacement? Other than Neil Patrick Harris?  

Two More Acts are Sent Packing

It’s time for four to become two, and so long as Oz leaves in fourth place, everything is on track. What happens after that, though, is anyone’s guess. Nick holds out for a whopping 24 seconds before dropping the hammer.

The Professional Regurgitator finishes in fourth place

Well that’s a bummer. It seems like fourth is the highest Stevie can finish in six tries across the world. Somebody hook a brother up with a bronze.

And 17 seconds later…

Oz Pearlman finishes in third place

As I said above, if I can’t have regurgitation, I’ll settle for Paul. But either of these two is a fine winner. Oz gets a departure montage, but what about Stevie? Why no vomit-inducing montage? 

Howie points the only knock against AGT is that there can be only one winner, but who will that winner be? We’re a mere commercial break away from the conclusion of this four-month adventure, and then who knows when I’ll see all of you again. I’ll have nightmares about that dang Mountain Faith Band…

And the Winner is…

It all comes down to this. Paul vs. Drew. Four letters vs. four letters. A guy who can sell tickets vs. a guy who sells hope. And has Nick saved his most dramatic pause for last?

Howard is proud of all the contestants, and he appreciates the psychological fortitude Paul and Drew have exhibited in enduring this brutal and grueling process. After a quick montage of both their journeys and a 17-second final pause from Nick Cannon…

Paul Zerdin is the season 10 winner of America’s Got Talent

And there you have it, folks! Thousands entered the ring, but only one exited without getting knocked out. And he brought a big group of dummies with him. Drew is a gracious runner up, but it is a just ending for someone with a clear career in front of him. 

Are you happy with the results? Or were you pulling for someone else? As always, thanks again to all of you who read along each week and kept the conversation going. You make live blogging fun, and I expect to see you all back next summer so we can do it all over again, hopefully with Simon Cowell on the judges’ panel … or Neil Patrick Harris.

And don’t forget to check back Thursday for my Top 30 performances of the season!

Now let’s hope for an all female top 10 in season 11. 

(Image and videos courtesy of NBC)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order