By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com
America’s Got Talent: Season 11 will conclude on Wednesday, as host Nick Cannon will announce who is America’s next $1,000,000 act!
Before any of the Top 10 take the Dolby Theatre stage for their final chance to impress America, here are Jake’s Take’s Top Eight music-based performances from this season.
#8-Sal Valentinetti: “My Way”
America loves a comeback! Longtime Reality TV show fans remember how Sal Valentinetti charmed his way into Jennifer Lopez’s heart during the second-to-last season of American Idol, but the judges eliminated him during the Hollywood Round for several subpar singers. Two years later, Sal returned to TV and auditioned for another set of the America’s Got Talent judges. Sal delivered probably one of the best male singer auditions of the seasons with his pitch-perfect cover of the Chairman of the Board’s “My Way.” His incredible performance not only showed America how he improved as a singer in a span of two years and how he earned something that Harry Connick, Jr., Keith Urban, and Jennifer Lopez could not give him: a chance to perform live for America for the country’s votes! Now, Heidi Klum’s Golden Buzzer is one spot away from winning the $1,000,000 prize.
#7-Jayna Brown: “Make It Rain”
After 14-year-old received Louis Tomlinson’s Golden Buzzer for her pitch-perfect cover of Andra Day’s “Rise Up” in the Judges’ Cuts round, I thought, “How was Jayna going to follow that performance?” However, Jayna answered my question when she became the first act to open the Season 11 live shows with her outstanding cover of Ed Sheeran’s “Make It Rain.” I thought that friend of the blog, American Idol XIV runner-up Clark Beckham, was the only Reality TV artist that was capable of delivering a show-stopping performance of this song. But, Jayna brought a soulful approach to the Ed Sheeran track that brilliantly showed her upper register and had the entire Dolby Theatre audience on their feet.
#6-Edgar: “You’ve Got A Friend”
The Edgar Family Band is probably one of the best family acts that have appeared on the show in the past four years. I was very impressed with this trio during their audition and the Judges’ Cuts round. However, when the Dolby Theatre live shows began, it seemed like the group got lost in the shuffle. But, their fantastic interpretation of Carole King and James Taylor’s “You’ve Got A Friend” put them back on the map as frontrunners. The harmonies between this family were heavenly, and they made the hairs on my arm stand up. Also, Nikki’s impressive vocals stole the night. Even though they were eliminated in the semifinals, there is no doubt that they have a bright future ahead of them.
#5-Laura Bretan: “The Prayer”
Laura Bretan and I have had a rough relationship throughout the season. It was love at first sight when I saw her earn Mel B’s Golden Buzzer at the Pasadena Civic Center earlier this year. But, as I investigated her past, I saw that not only she competed on another Got Talent franchise (Romania’s Got Talent), but won it as well. While that discovery left me a little bit scorned, there is no denying her supreme talent. When I first learned that Laura was going to perform the Quest for Camelot classic, I thought: “how is she going to tackle this monster song?” Many friends of the blog such as Chris Mann, the Forte Tenors, and Jessica Sanchez each had season-defining performances with their covers of Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion’s “The Prayer” and I had my doubts that she would top all of them. Well, Laura proved me wrong and delivered probably one of the best quarterfinal performances of the season!
#4-Brian Justin Crum: “Creep”
It’s safe to say that Brian Justin Crum was one of the best vocalists that AGT discovered this season. Since he delivered a bunch of solid performances all throughout the season, it was difficult for me to narrow my search. However, the performance that caught my attention over and over again was his interpretation of Radiohead’s “Creep” during the Judges’ Cuts. While friends of the blog, Kimberly Nichole, and Haley Reinhart, each redefined the punk rock anthem in their special way, Brian slowed down the tempo and turned it into a haunting melody that hypnotized fans, showed off his impeccable vocal range, and cemented his place in the live shows!
#3-Musicality Vocal Group: “Born This Way”
One act that immediately caught my attention from the very moment they took the Pasadena Civic Center stage was the Chicago-based Musicality Vocal Group. Conducted by their instructor, Michael E. Gibson, this group of high school students took this season by storm with their superb renditions of One Direction’s “Night Changes” and Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper.” But, it was their outstanding cover of Lady Gaga’s 2011 anthem during the first semifinals round that cemented their place as one of the best teen acts in the show’s history. Their harmonies were on point, gave me chills, and nearly made me tear up. I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot from this group for years to come!
#2-Moya Angela: “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”
If AGT was going to give out an award for the best Season 11 audition in the music category, the award should and hopefully go to Moya Angela. The former Las Vegas teacher and current Broadway star brought the Pasadena Civic Center audience to its feet with her spectacular cover of Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.” Her velvet vocals oozed out and gave viewers something to talk about. Jake’s Take wants to wish a hearty “Break A Leg” as she joins the cast of A cappella musical In Transit, which will start previews on November 10 at the Circle in the Square Theatre.
#1-Linkin’ Bridge: “7 Years”
There was one particular act that immediately caught my attention when I watched a taping of the America’s Got Talent: Season 11 auditions at the Pasadena Civic Center this past March. Big Rome, Montre Davis, Shon China Lacy, and Ekoe Alexandra made their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky proud when they delivered their brilliant interpretation of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” After watching that star-making audition, I hoped and prayed that this group would move forward to the Dolby Theatre live rounds, and I was so relieved when the judges revealed that they made the Top 36. Their semifinals performance of Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” moved me to tears and gave me this season’s biggest case of the goosies. The quartet’s blended harmonies and their soloists’ excellent vocals are the prime reasons why this performance is number one in my book! Win or lose; I firmly believe that Linkin’ Bridge will be this show’s first breakout music group that could be on par to another NBC alum: The Sing-Off’s Pentatonix!
I do not own any of the clips that are featured in this article. They belong to NBC, FremantleMedia North America & Syco Entertainment.