Season 12 of “America's Got Talent” was the biggest in the competition's storied history, and 52 million votes cast in the finals serves as proof. Wednesday night’s September 20 finale was free of any fear of red X’s and full of very special guest collaborators. There would still be sad farewells and some heartbreak, but mostly, this was a night meant for a celebration of lives transformed, talents recognized, and careers created. Simon Cowell called himself “gob-smacked” by the level of this year's talent, and the judge wasn't alone. Ten finalists were trimmed to five, and in the final minutes, two darling girls with definitive talents in voice stood to wait for the vote that would guide their futures.

A little fluff and fabulous singing

There was plenty of playful “filler” before the fateful choices were revealed, like quirky revelations about each of the judges, Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel. The live audience and viewers watching were treated to something special when the inspiring Kechi came onstage with 10-year-old Angelica Hale, performing the very apropos song, “Stronger.” In just minutes, the woman who wrote and sang the song first, Kelly Clarkson, strutted onstage to add her soulful tones. It was a wowsa moment, and there was hugging by the heaps for both the “America's Got Talent” ladies before Kelly took the stage solo to sing her new hit “Love So Soft.” She reminded all the finalists that “You've already won because you're here-- you're this far” and millions have seen their talents.

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The dancers comprising Diavolo offered a display of artistry and athleticism, and illumination performers, Light Balance added their splash of fun in speed and color to the tune of Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic.”

Tyra Banks hosted a warehouse party of the season’s acts who were axed by red X’s, and fans were treated to a few of her own choice moments. The host has come along way since her first episode flubs of announcing “America's Next Got Talent,” an understandable slip-up for the supermodel.

Sara and Hero did their part to teach the dogs of the judges a few new tricks, but it was Howie Mandel, who got corralled. Actress Marlee Matlin came out to do the honors of introducing Mandy Harvey, and the hearing-impaired singer got to sing with the queen of country pop, Shania Twain. The singers harmonized on “You're Still the One,” wrapping up with warm hugs. Shania Twain was soon surrounded by dancers for a full production performance of her “Life's About to Get Good.”

Heart-touching heroes

Darci Lynne already has inspired countless young followers to learn the art of ventriloquism, and the phenomenal little girl got to spend time with two of the modern greats in the craft, Jeff Dunham and Terry Fator, who knows full well how “America's Got Talent” can change a life.

Darci and Terry, and their furry pals, Winston and Petunia, did a stunning duet on “Anything You Can Do.”

Preacher Lawson got to pal around with Howie Mandel and Kevin Nealon, and the comedian was counseled, “you be you,” as his only guidance.

Evie Clair offered another life-affirming original song, “OK Day.” She was joined by acclaimed singer-songwriter, James Arthur, who not only sang her song with her but stayed to sing his own omnipresent composition, “Say You Won't Let Go” with Chase Goehring.

Hails and farewells

The time came for the vote results to cull the ten finalists down to only five. Mandy Harvey and Chase Goehring were the first pair, and only Mandy Harvey stood on stage. Evie Clair and Sara and Hero came next, and Sara and Hero stayed. Diavolo and Light Balance were called, and Light Balance remained with the group on stage. The last pair was Kechi and Angelica Hale. When Angelica heard her name called, she fell to the floor in tears and was comforted gently by Kechi as the departing inspiring singer left the stage. These are the uniquely “America's Got Talent” treasured moments.

Sara and Hero were named in fifth-place, and left the stage, followed by Mandy Harvey in fourth, and Light Balance in third place. All the performers were saluted and thanked, to huge applause.

In the final moments, it was Darci Lynne and Angelica Hale standing with Tyra banks in between, holding the envelope. Darci Lynne heard the news, melting into tears under a shower of confetti, and swept up in twirling hugs from her brother. There were no losers among these incredible talents, and future audiences will be the biggest winners. Angelica already has announced on social media that she will be joining Darci at her Las Vegas Planet Hollywood show in November. Look for the other eight artists to take over stages everywhere.