That magical night has finally arrived when we will crown the Season 9 winner of America’s Got Talent, and if the race were any tighter, Juan Carlos would wear it during his next rollerskating performance.

Any predictions I could offer would be like pulling a name out of Mat Franco’s hat, which would promptly change into a bunny rabbit that knew what card I was holding. It’s impossible to say with certainty what will or even should happen in a competition closer than John and Andrew’s erotic platonic dancing and a vote margin skimpier than Maggie Lane’s operatic bikini.

Still, I will offer my two very unlucky cents. 

Predicting the Top 6 Rankings

There are six acts remaining in the competition, but it’s really a three-horse race that should but doesn’t have a quartet of stallions. Sons of Serendip, they of sweet harpsichordical pleasantries, who have tended to my goosed bumps at every twist and turn, are every bit as worthy of a place atop the peak of AGT Mountain.

America’s Got Talent Recap: The Final Performances of Season 9 >>>

But alas, despite stellar performance after stellar performance, it would appear a million dollars is not in the stars. Hopefully it will come in the form of an eventual record deal, but for the time being, I predict they will finish in a very undeserving sixth place. 

Quintavious Johnson is a boy wonder with a voice to match, but I’ve said for weeks that we know exactly what to expect from him. And while “Let It Be” was a pleasant surprise, he is what we think he is. So he’ll carry the older voting crowd, as well as anyone who has ever sung in a Gospel choir, which will land him in fifth. 

Miguel Dakota, despite turning in the two worst performances of the Top 6, will ride his legions of training bra-tossing fans to a fourth-place finish. Man, that guy has got some good hair.

Any Winner is a Good Winner

And that brings us to the final three, and if polls are to be believed, it could go in any direction. There are arguments to be made for AcroArmy, Emily West and Mat Franco coming out on top, and few, if any, to be made against them. But all three are already million-dollar acts.

Whoever claims silver and bronze will still graduate with a 4.0 AGTPA. But someone took an extra AP class or something and earned an imaginary A++. The only unfair result is if they don’t finish 1-2-3. 

America’s Got Talent Finale Predictions: Who Will Win Season 9? >>>

That being said, I doubt David and Leeman’s giant always-right scratch-off lottery ticket has any idea what’s going to happen. I’ve flip-flopped for the past 22 hours and changed my mind multiple times. But my final guess prediction, my gut, puts AcroArmy third and Emily West second. So yes, I am going with Mat Franco as the first magic act to win America’s Got Talent!

Or AcroArmy as the first acrobatic troupe to win America’s Got Talent!

Or Emily West as yet another singer to win America’s Got Talent!

On to the show! (And yes, the first one is the only one that counts.)

By this point, you all know how it works. The blog is live, so keep the conversation going one last time as we finish this journey together. I am Frodo, Catherine is my Samwise and you all are the protectors of the ring (and, you know, orcs and goblins and stuff). So be sure to avoid Golum Mandel as we head to the Shire for the coronation of the new king! Elfen Klum is invited! 

So who do you think is going to win?

The (Final) Live Blog Starts Now

I hope you’ve got a snack, your beverage of choice and a seat belt, because we’re in for a wild ride of filler entertainment before we learn who is headlining a show in Vegas. We’ll be treated to songs from several famous uber-talented performers, and Pitbull!

Nick Cannon’s suit is either white or a very light lavender, accessorized with sparkly shoes, a sparkly bow tie and a sparkly watch, very much resembling an energetic disco ball. The judges get a walk from backstage this time, and they’re all looking quite dapper for the big night.

All of the finalists will be performing duets with the celebrities, but we’re kicking things off with Pitbull (yaay…) and the world-famous Rockettes, who call Radio City Music Hall their home. Now, Pitbull is just not my breed (I’m more of a Frenchie guy), but if “Fireball” is your thing, then you should enjoy it. I will keep my eyes on the dancers and question my self-worth based on Pitbull’s actual worth.

Recaps and Duets

After a look back at the Top 6 night that was, Nick Cannon brings the finalists out on stage. And there’s not a result in sight as we ready for a night of self-promoting guest stars. But not before one last trip to the Reddi Wip After Party. The kids balance spoons, Mat throws up a deck of cards and Miguel and Emily talk in ’40s gangster voices. 

Then it’s time for the first duet of the night, which pairs Sons of Serendip with Train for a different take on “Drops of Jupiter.” It’s a smooth combination of both group’s styles, and I can only hope this isn’t the last time I hear from SOS. 

Pat Monahan offers a fist bump or two to the guys before heading to the other side of the stage to join his real band for a performance of Train’s new single “Angel in Blue Jeans.” I wonder if anyone hitting the stage tonight doesn’t have a new album or single?

Travis Barker and AcroArmy

Our second duet is a bit of a puzzler, with Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker playing along with Lorde’s “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” cover (coming to a screen near you in Hunger Games: Catching Fire) while AcroArmy improvises a routine of some of the moves we’ve seen this season. I wonder who came up with that pairing?

Mel B.’s zipper apparently broke, so she’s wearing a robe while her clothes are mended. And it’s the perfect segue into a segment about the zany antics of the judges in Season 9. The highlights include Heidi falling off her chair, Howie dancing shirtless on stage and revealing that he shaves everything, behind-the-scenes of the Mel and Heidi glam-off catfight and other examples of dancing and wrestling and jazz fingers. So really, not much. But still, we love our judges. 

Before we get to the next (and much more suitably-paired) performance, we must pause for the promotion-fest to continue with a preview of the new season of The Voice.

Miguel Dakota Performs with his More Talented Future Self

If Lenny Kravitz had a Delorean and a long, straight roadway, he might actually be Miguel Dakota. Keep your eyes peeled to see if one of them starts to fade away during the performance. 

It also happens that the rock god has a new album, so get ready for his new single, “The Chamber.” He’s so badass with his skull ring, nose ring, chick drummer, androgynous guitarist and indoor sunglasses.

Then it’s over to the sidestage for a little “American Woman” with his protege. The fact that Miguel is starstruck is clearly evident every time he sings a bar while gazing into 2034. 

Howard Stern, Mat Franco and Rosie O’Donnell, Oh My!

After a brief “Nick Cannon deserves an Emmy” (he does) montage, mostly consisting of his mime prank, it’s time for the next illusion. Mat Franco, whose (lack of) height is revealed when he stands next to Howard, is also joined by new “The View” co-host Rosie O’Donnell. 

Mat gives Rosie 20 cards, and she counts 10 off before handing the rest to Howard. She puts her stack down her shirt, and Howard hides his stack in his pants.

Mel B. picks a 3 from the rest of the desk, which apparently means Mat must move three cards from Rosie’s top to Howard’s bottom (Did anyone else see him show what appeared to be the wrong card?). He drops some funny lines that reveal his showmanship skills, and then the cards magically move and everyone is amazed. 

And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going

Because there is no way I’d want to miss this duet, with young Quintavious Johnson and powerhouse Jennifer Hudson. But first, since the judges have no more direct influence, they were allowed to hang out with the acts for the first time, over champagne glasses filled with Snapple. Gotta work in those sponsorships. 

J-Hud, rocking fishnets and thigh-high boots, is shockingly singing the first single off her new album. And “It’s Your World” instantly shows the travesty that was her American Idol elimination, because this one’s in a class by herself. But she seems to be doing alright for herself, so no harm, no foul.

Then it’s time for Quintavious to saunter out singing the song that won his partner an Oscar. And Big Q does an outstanding job of holding his own with record-label royalty, which unfortunately just makes Miguel look worse. Best duet of the of night, hands down. Quintavious won’t win AGT, but he might come out of this looking the best. And oh yeah, he’s 12.

Emily West and … Cyndi Lauper?

Our final duet of the night pairs Emily West with Ms. Everything, Cyndi Lauper (anyone remember when she was in the WWF alongside Cap’n Lou and Wendy Richter?) for a stirring rendition of “True Colors.”

It was stunning if not awkward, and they both end up in tears. Cyndi apparently knows Emily from way back in the day on The Apprentice and believes everyone deserves a second chance, and no one more so than Emily. 

It’s almost time for results, but first we have to take another look back through the entire season, the stories that have been told and the lives that have been changed. I don’t know if it’s the best season ever, but it’s certainly one of the best groups of finalists in show history. It’s amazing to see them at their auditions and how much they’ve all grown as artists and performers. 

The First Results Revealed

We’ve still got more than a half hour remaining and only the results left, so it will be interesting to see what is planned to stretch out the show. Epic suspense pauses from Nick, anyone? The Top 6 are back out on the stage, and one of them is about to find out that the dream is over.

Miguel Dakota finishes in 6th place

There you go, America! Rock on, and make sure you nail the killer guitar riff. Let’s keep it rolling.

Quintavious Johnson finishes in 5th place

Holy cow, America is two for two! I think everyone was casting votes for the top 3/4, and that led to these two finishing where they should. Both could still be stars, too. Nick tells Big Q he’s going to the new Harry Potter park at Universal Studios, and Miguel is like, I wanna go too!

Don’t F— With My Love

Before we break down the top four, it’s time for some Ed Sheeran and his new hit single “Don’t.” As in don’t come on the finale of a reality show watched by millions unless you’ve got something to promote! (Cyndi was Kinky Boots on Broadway, if you were wondering). I am a fan of this song, though. And Mr. Sheeran.

Four Becomes Three

With all the performances out of the way, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Whatever the results are from here on out, America got it right. All four are deserving, though I still expect SOS to be the next ones out. The final four hit the stage, and…

Sons of Serendip finishes in 4th place

Not a surprise, but I’m glad they ended up as high as they did. They thank everyone they know, with special props to the AGT staff. Love these dudes. Mel B. offers inspirational parting words as SOS gets one last round of applause.

Who’s in the Top 2?

Next up is the first elimination that will come as a surprise, as a truly deserving act will be out of the competition. Will it be the singer? The magician? Or the acrobats? 

AcroArmy finishes in 3rd place

They had arguably the best performance of the season in the semifinals and with their reprisal, and they have nothing to hang their heads at. They have so much talent, and this group has a future in Vegas, win or lose. Howard commends them for giving us a great season.

And the Winner Is…

Before that last drawn-out commercial break, Nick checks in with the Top 2. Emily is nervous and stumbles over her words, and Mat says he is grateful to be here before pointing out that the voting is done and it’s out of their hands. 

All that is left to do in Season 9 is crown a champion, and after a montage of how they both got here, Nick dramatically pauses for the final time in 2014. It’s a good one, too. A solid 25 seconds.

Mat Franco is the winner of Season 9 of America’s Got Talent

And a tearful grandma is proud, as a magician wins for the first time! Mat says it’s un-freaking-believable, while Emily thanks Mat for taking on the world and AGT for changing and being the best time of her life. 

And that’s all she wrote, folks. No matter who you were rooting for, it’s tough to be overly disappointed with how it all played out. And I honestly believe this may be the first time we have multiple success stories emerging from the same season. I think all four of these top acts have a legitimate shot to be heard from again.

Similarly, I just want to thank all the readers for checking in each week and keeping the live conversation going. There’s no need to blog in real-time if no one is engaging, so you’re the reason we do it.

Be sure to check back Thursday afternoon for my rankings of the top performances of the season, and otherwise, I’ll see you next summer to do it all over again! It’s been a blast, and I again thank everyone for their participation and Catherine for being the Robin to my Batman. Because, yes, I am Batman. 

(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