And the "America's Got Talent" finalists are ... Team iLuminate, Poplyfe, the Silhouettes and Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.
Raise your hand if you are the least bit shocked by those results.
Yet, as expected as the outcome of Wednesday night's results show was, with voters culling the top 10 to those four, it was still sad to say goodbye to the six acts who'd made it this far only to be sent home just as their dream seemed within reach.
Between eliminations, pop-opera quartet Il Divo turned in a fiery performance, backed by a giant orchestra and with shapely violinists dangling overhead.
Without a vote for the first time this season, judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel became cheerleaders of sorts, or perhaps mentors, reminding the departing performers about how much they'd already accomplished and about how this wasn't the end of their careers, but rather the beginning. But it was hard not to notice the ashen expressions, the streaks of tears, the sheen of weepy snot on the faces of those who failed to advance.
The Smage Bros. Riding Show stunt bikers, called to the stage with light-up dancers Team iLuminate, were still horsing around almost until host Nick Cannon delivered the blow. Apparently caught off-guard by the results (that Midwestern optimism!), they managed to utter something about a roller-coaster ride before zooming offstage.
Singer Lys Agnes looked like the picture of misery as she and the Latin dance group Miami All Stars awaited their fates. Morgan issued a brief pep talk about both acts having "done yourselves proud," but as expected, Cannon revealed that neither would move on in the competition. The Miami All Stars director sweetly thanked everyone, including America, NBC and God, while Agnes stiffly thanked the people out there who "understand an artist's ability to be many different things." She really looked devastated by the entire ordeal, though. I hope she hangs in there OK.
Next coupling: teen band Poplyfe and pretty magician Landon Swank. I'll admit that I entertained the possibility that Swank would pull off an impressive trick and edge out the talented kids. The Poplyfe band members seemed to consider this possibility too, looking deeply nervous as they awaited word. But no, Poplyfe would advance, and Swank was left only to rattle off a few thanks before disappearing. (I'm considering it the revenge of the goldfish, despite Mandel's insistence that the wee carp survived Swank's act swimmingly.)
The smiles on the Silhouettes' faces and the miserable expressions of the West Springfield Dance Team as they awaited their results proved prescient. It was lovely to see all those tiny gold-Lycra-clad bodies jump up and down excitedly when they learned they had made the finals. (And how sweet was it when the smallest of them admitted that the news felt "good"?) West Springfield, I must say, seemed less horrified by their loss than you might have expected, generously allowing that, building on their success in the YouTube round, they had made it further than they'd ever dreamed.
That left only one finals spot and two very different singers: rat pack crooner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. and the precociously soulful Anna Graceman. The vote went Murphy's way, and Graceman, who, lest we forget, is only 11, tried valiantly to smile through her tears. But Murphy took the news of his win almost harder than Graceman took word of her loss. Sure, it's a "dream come true," he told Cannon, but it's "hard being up here and taking it from these kids." Awww.
What did you think? Did America make the right call? And who do you think will go all the way and snag the win?
-- Amy Reiter
Photo: Il Divo's Sébastien Izambard performs on "America's Got Talent." Credit: NBC.