NBC's longest-running talent show is at the halfway point of its 13th season, and as I always get when I watch season after season, I am super impressed. As the acts are getting past the initial audition process and being cut down to less and less, hoping to get into the live shows, I have some predictions for who is going to make it far.
Note: These predictions come from last week's "Judge's Cuts" as well as the week before and the auditions that have yet to come to the next round.
Another quick note: I wrote this directly after "Judges' Cuts," so the latest videos of some of the acts are not included. I trust you'll find someone you want to see more of and my links can direct you to the proper avenues.
1. Duo Transcend
This husband/wife duo is not only extremely talented, but managed to make such an impresson on the judges that even after a major drop, the danger and artistry was memorable enough from the first audition and thrilling enough from the second to warrant being put into the live shows. I'm curious to see what will come next.
2. Joseph O'Brien
This singer, besides being super adorable, has a voice that is still blossoming. The judges saw something in Joseph that was on the brink of excellence, and with last week's "Judges Cuts," performance being CUT OFF midway, and the performance directed towards another song on the spot, HE STILL MANAGED TO GET THROUGH.
I think redemption is going to be a major theme for this talented 20-year-old. And I'm so excited to see what he'll sing next (the judges have warned him about song choice now, so he'll have to be careful).
3. Vicky Barbolak
This performer not only has a funny, somewhat dark sense of humor, but she has made all 4 of the judges laugh and got guest judge Olivia Munn to rethink her Golden Buzzer a bit. in "Judges Cuts." A lot of her jokes are geared towards being a parent and how she has struggled to make a living, but I am still ready to see what Howie's "best comedian of the season" will do when America gets to vote.
4. Makayla Phillips
Not that this is a HUGE factor, but 15-year-old Phillips soared on every high note of Demi Lovato's ballad "Warrior," and she was the last Golden Buzzer of the audition portion (picked by Heidi Klum), which means she technically has a bit less time to prepare for the live show than other acts. With her vocal talent, I doubt it will be much of an issue, but it'll be interesting to see how she stacks up to the other singers (and there were a lot of them this season).
5. Rob Lake
This illusionist caught me in the feels with his first performance on AGT when he said he had dropped out of college to pursue his dream, and if he isn't successful, he'll be returning home to Oklahoma to work in his family furniture store. Not that working with his parents would be a bad thing, but his first illusion was STELLAR, and it would be upsetting to see him be unsuccessful with what he really wants to do.
Lake was told during his first performance that the set-up took too long, and with his "Judges' Cuts" performance, he made it snappy and quick but was told it was a bit corny for Simon's taste, though the illusion was AMAZING. (Find the video if you can. I screamed, and so did my mom.)
What's even more interesting is that his main competition, Shin Lim (a close-up magician), also made it through. It's going to be a showdown to witness, for sure.
6. Junior New System
This group has everything- an inspiring story, talent for days, and sparkly high heels. This dance group goes above and beyond, landing flips in boots I wouldn't even think about attempting (I can barely WALK in heels, let alone dance in them). I have seen a lot of dance groups, and a few that feature men strutting their stuff in heels, but I have never seen anything like this. SO fun, and they're getting better and better, so who knows what they'll bring next time!
7. Michael Ketterer
I won't lie to you- I judged this man by his cover first (he's got the glasses and the plaid and the cute/hot dad thing going on), and he had just said in his testimonial that he was a father of 6, so I was intruiged, to say the least.
As soon as he got into the good portion of his audition song, I knew he was going to be a Golden Buzzer. I'm SO ready to see what he brings to the live shows, because he has a raw, gritty quality to his voice with such a gentle quality weaved into it that it's going to be different than a lot of the other voices on the show. There are becoming less and less male singers on the show, but even so, I am sure he'd have no trouble giving other acts a run for their money.
8. Oliver Graves
Another confession- Oliver Graves is adorable, but you have to look past the appearance he gives for a moment. His black wig, makeup, and ripped red sweater make him hard to look past, but seeing him break down when he got his 4 "yes" votes after his audition tore at my heartstrings.
He's unique, has a dark sense of humor, and had some VERY relatable, stupid jokes that made me laugh long after he was done.
9. Angel City Chorale
I'm always down to hear a good choir. In fact, I would argue I root for choirs and chorales more than other groups, since I was in one from sixth to twelfth grade. That being said, this group is above average in every way. Their versions of "Africa" by Weezer and "Baba Yetu" had me shivering from beginning to end, and they weave choreography into every performance, so it's always fun, always unique, and you never quite know what they'll do next.
(PS. They are the most recent Golden Buzzer, so they are ingrained in the judges' minds. I'm curious to see if America will like them as much.)
The day after this dance group went on the show, Facebook was buzzing with this video- and it hasn't stopped yet. Not even with over a month since this was on, Zucaroh's dramatic, stunning performance is still being passed around. America has a liking for this group for sure, and I hope they can step it up the way the judges have been demanding of the other groups, because they are AMAZING, and I want them to go really far (and with their skill, I think they could make it pretty far).