'AGT' finals: Mandy Harvey, Preacher Lawson impress


The two Central Florida finalists fared well on the “America’s Got Talent” finals Tuesday night.

St. Cloud singer Mandy Harvey played the ukulele on another of her original songs. Simon Cowell reminded everyone that she lost her hearing a decade ago. He said her singing was amazing and that she deserved to win. (He said the same thing earlier to ventriloquist Darci Lynne.)

Orlando comedian Preacher Lawson deployed his exuberant, animated style to play a naked man who begged for $75. The beggar was preaching black power – but was actually white, Lawson joked. Howie Mandel compared Lawson to Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. Mel B said she could watch Lawson all night. Cowell predicted Lawson would have a major contract in eight weeks — or Cowell would eat his hand. Lawson credited his crazy style to his mother.

The praise wasn’t across the board. Heidi Klum didn’t like the drug content of Lawson’s comedy. Mel B praised Harvey’s voice and pitch but had liked other songs better.

The likely winner?

Ventriloquist Darci Lynne, 12, presided over warring puppets Petunia and Oscar. They came together for “With a Little Help From Friends,” and Darci showed her singing versatility. Incredible, Mel B told the self-taught performer. “I think you’re going to win,” Cowell told her. (He created the show.) Mandel added that Darci had been the most popular contestant on the internet.

The other hopefuls:

Ten-year-old Angelica Hale opened the show with “Symphony” and was more subdued than usual. Mel B said she looked comfortable, confident and in control.

Chase Goehring sang a catchy number of his own about individuality. Mandel called him authentic, and Cowell called the song brilliant.

Sara and Hero featured dancing and jumping dogs in a chaotic performance. It wasn’t perfect, but it was exciting, Mel B said. The mistakes made it more exciting, Mandel said.

The large dance troupe in Diavolo was more organized than usual and delivered amazing, high-flying acrobatics. Mandel was impressed by the group’s precision and height.

In the night’s most emotional moment, 13-year-old singer Evie Clair delivered a lovely, low-key “What a Wonderful World.” She just lost her father to cancer, the song recently marked its 50th anniversary, and the judges raved about her strength.

Singer Kechi delivered the inspirational “Conqueror” simply and persuasively. Mandel praised her strength, and Mel B said the performance came together on the chorus.

The dance troupe Light Balance closed the show with a flashy performance that Cowell said was incredible. Heidi Klum said the group should be playing Las Vegas now.

The “AGT” winner will be named in a two-hour show that starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday on NBC. Kelly Clarkson, Shania Twain, Derek Hough and many others will perform. This has been the most-watched season yet for the talent contest.

hboedeker@orlandosentinel.com and 407-420-5756.



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