The final meaningful performances of America’s Got Talent season 12 are in the books, and the show was structured in such a way to remind us of the clear differential between the contenders and the rest of the bunch. It was a solid night overall, but three acts distanced themselves from the competition. Here are my rankings.


#10 Kechi

She has a fine voice, but it was next to impossible to hear it as Kechi was drowned out by her backup singers. With the exception of two notes that rose above the noise, she was completely indiscernible. It’s a shame, but she had her big moment in the quarterfinals and followed it up by winning the save in the semifinals.


#9 Sara and Hero

Similarly to how Pompeyo Family Dogs came up short in the semifinals, this incredibly likable pooch act was lacking. The energy was different from the beginning, in a way that distracted from the fun and allowed you to focus on the missteps. I mean, they’re animals, so no one expects perfection. But this simply wasn’t on the same level as her previous performances.


#8 Preacher Lawson

He was probably the most disappointing act of the night, with some readers predicting he would win the whole thing. But it was clear that his material was subpar this time, and so he relied on the physical comedy that some obviously enjoy. But the question is, is physical comedy for the sake of physical comedy funny enough? It was also a risk that he told a singular story instead of relying on the rapid-fire stream of consciousness that got him to the finals.

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#7 Angelica Hale

I’ve been on her bandwagon since the beginning, but this lower rating is a combination of slotting first in the lineup and choosing a lesser-known song that made it tough for her to have a moment. It was a stunning performance, but it didn’t stick with me as the show went along.


#6 Diavolo

I can only assume the judges are right about the differences between watching Diavolo in person and on television because I didn’t get the crescendo I so desperately craved. Some called it mesmerizing, but that’s too lofty a word for me. It was beauty and grace personified, but I was waiting for that wow moment that would allow them to stand out, a la AcroArmy’s sky-high flips and tosses, but it never came.


#5 Chase Goehring

It was a quality, radio-ready moment for Chase, who delivered his Chase-iest performance to date. He ended on a high note because he paid attention to the sources of his success and played them up. His songwriting and ability to speak fast are his bread and butter, so he threw an impressively long and perfectly enunciated rap into a song that otherwise would’ve been overly similar to all his other ones. And that’s what you do to be remembered.


#4 Evie Clair

Does she belong this high? Does it matter? It was gut-wrenching. It was beautiful. It was the most memorable performance of the entire night — at least before the night really started.


#3 Light Balance

Here’s where the eventual medalists factor in, and many will argue that Light Balance deserves to be higher and could even win. They added stunning new visuals to an already unique act, and it was their most complete and entertaining performance. But it was also their sloppiest. And maybe I’m in the minority, but I find the lack of unison distracting, even with all the flashing lights.

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#2 Mandy Harvey

She’s been solid all along, with a heartbreaking and inspirational backstory paired with the talent that allows you to forget about it. She’s not amazing because she’s deaf; rather, she’s so amazing that you would never know she has a disability. That being said, all her wonderful performances are very similar, which makes it difficult for her to have a standout moment. She is deserving of the win, but I predict a silver medal.


#1 Darci Lynne Farmer

She capped off her time on AGT (prior to her obvious collaboration with Terry Fator in the finale) by following in the footsteps of previous champions Kenichi Ebina and Paul Zerdin with a performance so seamless you need to be reminded of its difficulty. Her Top 10 routine involved singing and bantering with two puppets, but to audiences, it appeared to be a simple conversation between three individuals. Still, where she separates herself from the singers is her ability to have a true moment, and her semifinal performance goes down as the best of the season.