How did Johns Creek’s Angelica Hale do during ‘AGT’ finals?

AMERICA’S GOT TALENT — “Live Finale” — Pictured: Angelica Hale — (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

This was posted on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Johns Creek’s 10-year-old singing phenom Angelica Hale opened the finals of “America’s Got Talent” with a pyrotechnic bang Tuesday night, picking a recent Clean Bandit pop song “Symphony.”

Although the song was a big hit in Europe, it only peaked at No. 35 on the pop charts stateside. Hale has been strategic the entire competition, sticking with modern songs by the likes of David Guetta, Zedd and Alicia Keys, avoiding accusations of sounding too pageantry or cutesy.

With the Clean Bandit song, Angelica was able to show off her emotional and vocal range, mixing quiet moments and big notes in equal fashion. Wearing a simple gold-speckled dress in front of a huge symphony and literal fireworks behind her, she was pitch perfect and caressed every note with the maturity and grace of a 30 year old.

All four judges gave her a standing ovation.

UPDATE: She ended up coming in second behind Darci Lynne. 

RELATED: My story on how Angelica got to this point

RELATED: My first interview with Angelica after she first appeared on the show

Heidi Klum: ” You’re only four feet tall but you’re a giant! You’re the best singer we have in this competition.”

Howie Mandel: “What a way to open the show. This is the finale. It felt like that was the finale. That’s the way to close the show much less open it!”

Mel “whats up with that ridiculous hair” B: “You just look so comfortable and confident. There wasn’t an ounce of nervousness. You took the stage and controlled every note, everything. That was just amazing.”

Simon Cowell: “I’m actually gobsmacked. You really are in it to win it. Let me tell you why I like this. It doesn’t feel like your mom and dad told you what to sing. It sounds like it’s your choice. It makes you relevant and cool. I remember seeing people like Britney and Christina and Justin on shows like this. It may be sooner rather than later but this could be the moment your career started.”

You can vote for her until 7 a.m. EST Wednesday, providing 10 votes apiece via three methods:

  1. Download the AGT app and vote 10 times there.
  2. Vote 10 more times at nbc.com/agtvote
  3. Vote 10 times by calling 1-866-602-4801.

Here are quick thoughts on the other nine acts. Plus, Simon Cowell praised every single act, no matter whether they were great or good or disappointing. Oddly, Mel B and Heidi Klum would occasionally utter a mild critique, much to Simon’s dismay. Yes, Simon has not been transformed into a tight-shirted Paula Abdul!

Chase Goehring: A teen singer songwriter who does original tunes. This one isn’t half bad, has a relatable message about loving oneself and includes a not-painful rap-like interlude. He clearly has listened to a bit of Ed Sheeran. Grade: B-plus/A-minus

Sara and Hero: Simon saved her during the initial audition and helped lift her confidence. Her dogs are adorable and the producers did their best to jazz up pretty routine dog tricks. And there were plenty of mistakes. This has zero percent chance of winning. Clearly, Simon & Co. needed some non-singers to make it this far and this dog act checked that box. Simon’s over-the-top praise is mind-boggling. GRADE: C-plus

Diavolo: Sure, the leader uses military terms about entering the stage like a “wounded army and fight for our lives.” It truly is an act that could do Vegas, as Simon said. They have lovely choreography and mesmerizing moves. But a dance troupe has never won and this one won’t get the prize either. GRADE: B-plus/A-minus

Evie Clair: This 13-year-old’s dad died right after the semifinals. But she’s sticking it out because her father told her to fight until the end like he did. Sniff.  You can’t get a more poignant back story than this. Her haunting, raw, stripped down “What a Wonderful World” would cause the Grinch’s heart to grow 10 times larger. Grade: A/A-minus

Preacher Lawson: I never really got this guy at all. He does physical humor, telling a story about a mentally ill homeless guy that was supposed to be funny. I still don’t get him. Howie’s praise is absurdist with comparisons to Charlie Chaplin, Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. What??? Grade: C-minus

Kechi: She survived a plane crash and a mom of two victims tell her how inspirational she is. She has a lovely voice but this is not a $1 million winning performance of Estelle’s “Conquerer.” She is too restrained. Maybe it was nerves. Grade: B

Darci Lynne: This 12 year old is self taught, which is incredible. After a comedic interlude with her mouse and her bunny, they sing a duet of “With a Little Help From My Friends.” This is a $1 million act for sure. I’m sure even Terry Fator would agree. Grade: A

Mandy Harvey: She went deaf 10 years ago but has been able to still sing. She sounds like she’s singing an original sing about overcoming obstacles. It’s pretty but it’s just alright, especially compared to some of her competition tonight. Grade: B-plus

Light Balance: The routine was fun to watch but seemed awfully short. It clocked in at just two minutes. With so many singers (and the odds one of them is going to win), the producers clearly chose a non-singing group to close out the show. They were good but no way can they overcome Darci or Angelica. Grade: B-plus

My ranking of the top 10:

1- Darci Lynne

2- Angelica Hale

3- Evie Clair

4- Chase Goehring

5- Diavolo

6- Light Balance

7- Mandy Harvey

8- Kechi

9- Sara and Hero

10- Preacher Lawson

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