Out of hundreds of acts, 48 were picked to do their thing in prime time. Out of those 48, only four remain.
As the season finale of America's Got Talent got underway tonight, the finalists performed one last time in hopes of securing enough love from the audience to be crowned America's Best New Act.
Oh yeah, and win $1 million and a headlining show in Las Vegas. No wonder it was such an emotional night...
First up Tuesday was car washer turned crooner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. (Vegas is going to need to stock up on neon lights for that one), who fittingly sang Frank Sinatra's "My Way."
The 36-year-old from West Virginia is not the most polished performer in the bunch, but fans have fallen in love with Murphy's hard-luck backstory and perseverance for the sake of his wife and child.
"What a moment that was," raved Piers Morgan. "That was a million-dollar performance."
"There's a real good chance that you just sealed the deal," noted resident curmudgeon Howie Mandel.
Next up, the lit-up dance troupe Team iLuminate took the stage.
They definitely wouldn't be that special if they didn't wear all black and perform in the dark, with only a bunch of strategically placed glow sticks to highlight their movements—but they do, so they are. It's like a Lite-Brite come to life!
"You're exactly the reason why our show is so different to every other talent show," praised Sharon Osbourne, more than earning her paycheck with that one. "To be able to give you guys a stage, it's like an honor to us. It's groundbreaking what you do."
"You're what this country is all about," Morgan chimed in. "You are exactly what America needs right now."
If the kids from POPLYFE take the top prize, they would make up the first band to win America's Got Talent—but it's unclear whether tonight's Queen medley is going to do it for them.
"I believe that you are champions and I believe you have what it takes to be champions. I'm concerned that maybe this particular performance, some of the notes...you felt it, right?" Mandel advised the group of teens from Oakland, Calif.
"Why are you crying?" Morgan asked soloist Kehlani Parrish, who was in tears as soon as the performance ended.
"Because," Kehlani said, "I just want people to understand that we worked so hard...and we've been through so much, and we can come out on top, and we just hope people understand that we really want this!"
"Nobody disputes that," Morgan insisted. But, as the judges agreed, POPLYFE hit a few bum notes and may have to suffer the consequences.
Closing out the show was Denver-based theatrical troupe Silhouettes, which, like Team iLuminate, separates itself from the rest of the pack by highlighting the outlines of the human body to turn something kinda ordinary—like a tableau of a day in the park—into something unique.
But now it's up to America to figure out who's got talent. The winner of all the marbles, not to mention all the money, will be revealed tomorrow night.