This week's February 11 airing of “America's Got Talent: The Champions” was packed with performances that fans had never seen before. The emotion, beauty, and action from the stage were at a peak, yet in one way, the end of the night left loyal fans wanting. Despite being the finals of “America's Got Talent: The Champions,” there was no hint of America's voting at the close. The anticipation and excitement for that decision will have to be on hold until next week's finale.

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Nonetheless, from start to finish, it was a golden night of performances, starting with host Terry Crews in his gleaming gold tuxedo, and the run didn’t slow down, and Terry got in on some tense action.

Letting it rip

Week 2’s finalist, Cristina Ramos, kicked off the night. The singer from “Spain's Got Talent” described how her ravenous rock performances unleashed her inner “rock beast.” That beast was not chained for long, as she stood as a still silhouette, opening with her operatic tones to “Rhiannon” and then really turning the volume up for Blondie’s “Call Me.” She strutted out on catwalks to bring the performance up close and personal, and the judges were captivated, too.

Heidi Klum called Ramos “a wild animal onstage,” and Simon Cowell predicted that she had “put the show up in the air.”

Preacher Lawson put life and work into perspective, opening with his views on alcohol, and then moving to careers in drug dealing and working at the gym. His fitness work led to a hilarious romp about how women would rather do anything than be buff. In the blink of an eye, comedian Lawson was screeching like the Incredible Hulk, and ripping his shirt, priced at $6.95, for full effect.

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Howie Mandel rooted his favorite funnyman on, saying he hoped that the voters from the 50 states were talking about Preacher. Simon Cowell said he felt like he was “watching a star.” Heidi Klum loved the muscles, and Mel B got her belly laugh.

The first wildcard selection of the group was the ventriloquist, Darci Lynne. The voice-throwing phenom has been a constant favorite in “America's Got Talent” history, but she didn't lean on her past laurels. She and Petunia, her favorite puppet friend, let it rip with Italian opera, and the result was flawless.

“Wow, wow, wow!” exclaimed Simon, after resounding standing ovations. Mel B applauded the delivery and confidence displayed by Darci.

Heidi Klum’s dangerous golden buzzer couple, Deadly Games, truly did turn up the killer quotient in this offering, with the beautiful “assistant” dodging knives within the first few seconds, before a crossbow shot at an apple on her head. She mounted a spinning wheel that was a super speed, dodging her man’s flinging blades.

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The judges noted that the throws were “off tonight,” before the announcement that they were part of the final stunt. Simon, Heidi, Howie, Mel B, and Terry Crews were called to the stage, each holding small white balloons. Wearing only goggles for protection, they were aligned as human holding targets for the balloons, as a crossbow shot was fired to deflate all five. Gripping doesn't begin to describe the moment, and Simon Cowell proclaimed that in danger performance, the couple was the best in the world.

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Howie was already prepared to hide behind Heidi to be saved from death.

Houston singer, Kechi, could not have chosen a more perfect song for this point in the finals than Sia’s “Opportunity,” and her boundless spirit inhabited every note. Simon's golden buzzer girl could have written the song, so fitting as its message is to her life. She was luminous under the glow as she began to sing, and her testament of strength reached to every heart listening. “You're an inspiration. I love you,” Simon Cowell asserted. Howie Mandel told Kechi that she made his “heart burst.” More than anything physical, Kechi leaves every person with ears and a heart lifted beyond earthly realms, and ready to face any challenges to come.

Brian Justin Crum went back to his Broadway roots to deliver an impassioned “Never Enough.” His performance surged with conviction, likely with his sense of triumph over the bullies of his youth. He hit huge notes, and the judges noticed. Mel B raved that the performance was “massive” and exactly the way to deliver “a slam dunk.”

Magical elements

Magician and purveyor of positivity, Jon Dorenbos was the second wildcard selected for the finals, and his props were simple. He started by having the judges each pick a chalkboard, and without prompting, they each picked, in order, 1, 2, 3, 4, with Simon Cowell predictably choosing 1 first. He then asked Mel B to choose a card, and tear a corner, and asked Howie to choose a city where he had been on tour. Heidi Klum was asked to choose a favorite photograph, and then Simon was asked about an early memory from Dorenbos on “America's Got Talent: The Champions.” Judge by Judge the magician tied a memory to his “America's Got Talent” journey, and revealed symbols drawn before the performance that reflected exactly their choices. More than his expert technique, Jon Dorenbos has a mission to bring every person higher, all from a magic trick and his inspiring story.

11-year-old Angelica Hale doesn't need magic. The singer has already survived a life-and-death health crisis, and earned Howie Mandel's golden buzzer in “America's Got Talent: The Champions.” Still, Simon Cowell was right to say that she was out to win with a very grown-up cover of “Impossible.” Howie Mandel insisted that she was living up to her first name, and Mel B noted an “obvious improvement” from her auditions performance.

Sand artist, Kseniya Simonova, offered a heart-wrenching story drawn in the sand tray that was nothing short of stunning, even after her performance that moved Terry Crews to press the golden buzzer. This time, her saga swept through history, through war, pain, devastation, redemption, and reunion—represented in the gazing eyes of children. The world needs to see what Simonova creates, and it is not a stretch to see the artist growing into huge venues. Mel B noted that her stories could consume volumes of books, and Heidi Klum praised that she was a true artist. Simon Cowell extolled that hers were some of the most “beautiful, creative things I've ever seen.” The audience clearly agreed, and perhaps the 50 state voters will concur.

“Britain's Got Talent” champion, Paul Potts, often didn't believe in himself when his wife did. She encouraged him to stick to singing even before his talent show takeover. Potts decided on traditional favorites for this make-or-break moment, choosing “Nessun Dorma,” and nailing the classic to perfection. Simon Cowell actually cheered from his seat and told Potts that he was a champion. Howie Mandel candidly spoke that he was not an opera fan, but he was a Paul Potts fan. Mel B noted that he sang as though “it was nothing.” He dedicated his performance to another “Britain's Got Talent” contender, saying that he should be there, too. Class and talent go quite well together.

Shin Lim certainly seems to be America's favorite illusionist, as proven on this “America's Got Talent: The Champions” run to victory. The card magician with the fabulous hands had Howie Mandel and Terry Crews flabbergasted again, moving cards to Howie’s seat, burning a card into his chest, and transporting cards on a whim between where they were last seen and a plastic bag. Lim even left cards inside a plastic bag floating in Howie Mandel's drink. Simon Cowell commended that it took “guts” for Shin Lim to go against contenders while being a title-holding champion. Heidi Klum said that the card master was “jaw-dropping” again.

There could be no one better than Susan Boyle to finish off the night of performances for the finals of “The Champions,” the Scottish singer, too, turned back to her roots. She reprised “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables,” and demonstrated her gift that rises from the soul as much as the voice. Applause came at every verse, not merely the ending. Mel B called her golden buzzer choice “classy, elegant, and effortless” in her delivery. Simon Cowell deemed her a champion, while Howie Mandel credited that she was more. Her life is evidence of how transforming a moment in life, on a particular stage, can be. She has honored every audience, and every person listening, to her unmistakable voice.

Next week, for sure, there will be a winner in “America's Got Talent: The Champions, so stick it out and stay tuned in. This will be the last time to appreciate Heidi Klum and Mel B, who reportedly will be replaced by Julianne Hough and Gabrielle Union in the regular Season 14. Even with the changes, the competition keeps rolling.

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