By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
Last week, I was issued a challenge by my friend and award-winning marketing maven Becky Wilson. Both of us are huge fans of the NBC talent competition series: America’s Got Talent!
Because of our passion for the show, Becky challenged me to pick out my Top 10 favorite acts from this season. Whoever has the most acts in September’s Season 11 finale at the Dolby Theatre will be treated to lunch on the runner-up’s dime and both of us will go on Facebook Live during the meal.
With my reputation for picking out talent on the line, I analyzed the 33 acts (plus the three wild cards that will be announced through the Season 11 live shows) and picked out not only my 10 favorite acts, but which acts who have the chance to join Terry Fator, Kenichi Ebina, Mat Franco and Paul Zerdin in the AGT winner’s circle in September.
In no particular order, here are my Top 10 favorite acts of Season 11:
Linkin’ Bridge (A cappella group)
I had the pleasure of watching their audition first hand when I was Pasadena in March. Montre, Big Rome, Shon China Lacy, and Ekoe immediately charmed me within the first few notes of their arrangement of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and I was immediately on my feet. They continued to impress me with their surprising rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” I believe that they will be the Pentatonix of AGT. If they are not in the finale, I will be literally speechless.
Musicality (Vocal group)
Linkin’ Bridge’s biggest rival this season is Musicality Vocal Group. The Currie Metropolitan School’s a cappella group is the only act this season that made me weep openly. As a volunteer mentor of a non-profit organization dedicated to help at-risk high school students, I was immediately impressed with this group’s determination and perseverance. I got chills when they covered One Direction’s “Night Changes” and their impressive harmonies on Demi Lovato/Sam Bailey’s “Skyscraper” earned them a spot in the live shows. They are the next generation of Glee and I pray that Ryan Murphy, Nickelodeon, and Disney will watch them perform.
Moya Angela (Singer)
Over the years, AGT has introduced us to some of the most impressive female singers on the planet such as Barbara Padilla, Alice Tan Ridley, Emily West, Sharon Irving, and Samantha Johnson. Following in their footsteps is Moya Angela. The former Broadway performer and current Las Vegas teacher’s powerful voice captured my attention when she delivered an outstanding cover of Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” and her cover of Heart’s “Alone” were superstar worthy! I really hope that America rallies behind her when the live shows start.
Brian Justin Crum (Singer)
The best male solo singer this year is Brian Justin Crum! He has the vocal prowess of two former singing competition favorites: American Idol’s Adam Lambert and The Voice’s Jordan Smith, plus his swagger is off-the-chain. His stage presence also reminds me so much of friend of the blog and AGT alum Branden James. Brian’s performances of both “Somebody to Love” and “Creep” are some of the highlights of this season and I have a feeling that he could be running all the way to the finish line.
Malevo (Malambo group)
Buenos Aires, Argentina natives Malevo introduced the rhythms and sounds of Argentina to American audiences. Each time they have performed in front of the judges, they stepped up their game and delivered a memorable performance that was rewarded with a Golden Buzzer from George Lopez. If they continue to deliver the same caliber of fiery routines that we saw at the Auditions and the Judge Cuts, then they will be strong contenders to be in the finale.
Julia Scotti (Comedian)
It has been over nine years since the talented Grandma Lee took the America’s Got Talent stage. Grandma Lee was edgy and no subject was off-limits. Following her legacy is 63-year-old Julia Scotti and this New Jersey native broke down barriers for both older adults and transgendered performers with her performances. I strongly believe that she has sturdy enough material to get deep into the live shows.
Season Eight winner Kenichi Ebina set the bar high when it came to creating multimedia performances to illuminate the AGT stage. One act this season that has definitely reached (and maybe surpassed) the bar is Hara. The 25-year-old Japanese illusionist is the strongest magic act this season and constantly surprised both the judges and the audience with his presentations. I cannot wait to see what tricks he has in store for us for the live shows.
Sofie Dossi (Contortionist)
Of all the young acts (under 18 years old) that have made it to the live shows, there is only one act that might have the chance to walk away with the title of “Winner of Season 11” and that one act is 14-year-old Sofie Dossi. Usually, I am not a fan of contortionists, but Sofie Dossi’s showmanship has not only accelerated her past her peers but near striking distance to several adult frontrunners. Her jaw-dropping routines and Reba’s Golden Buzzer endorsement places her at the front of the pack.
Viktor Kee (Juggler)
While his skin-toned unitard might have turned a few viewers off, Viktor Kee’s innate ability to command the stage with his juggling and visual effects have made him one of the best variety acts this season. Viktor’s visual storytelling does not leave audiences unsatisfied, and he proves that jugglers are more than just one-dimensional and that they can be an anchor for a Las Vegas entertainment show. I cannot wait to see how he follows up with his illuminating Judge Cuts performance.
The Clairvoyants (Mentalists)
Rounding out my Top 10 are Thommy Ten and Amelie also known as The Clairvoyants! This couple’s psychic powers captured the attention of the nation when they auditioned in front of the judges. Thommy and Amelie gave me the goosebumps throughout the competition, and I believe that if they continue to pull off spectacular feats, I predict that they will be one of the last acts standing.
Who are your favorite acts from this season?
“America’s Got Talent: Season 11” Live Shows start this Tuesday!