The hopeful talents of “America's Got TalentSeason 14 had only one more performance on September 17 to show they were worthy of the public’s vote for $1 million and the title of champion. There are no more judges’ votes and no more chances for a saving vote-- it all comes down to one performer and one performance. There was nothing but heart, soul, and superlative effort out of each of the 10 finalists, and Simon Cowell crowned the evening by saying that “it was the best live final of my life.”

The famously sharp-tongued British judge remarked that this year brought “the most open competition” ever for “America's Got Talent,” and that the evening would be “all about inspiration.” He insisted that the entire season had focused on inspiration, and these performances had to show the people how their lives could be forever changed by the uplifting artistry. Every performance met that criteria and one went beyond Simon’s imagination.

Songs and dreams go soaring

It was only fitting that V. Unbeatable began the performances. The soaring troupe of acrobatic dancers from Mumbai gave a full tribute to their founder, Vikas, who tragically died from a practice fall. In blazing red and neon green, multiple dancers leaped and tossed themselves from giant cubes, all the while doing robotic moves with originality and perfection. Howie Mandel raved that the group was “dangerous, amazing, and incredible." “Freakin’ unbelievable” was how Gabrielle Union described the performance.

Julianne Hough lauded the precision and astounding ability of the entire ensemble, noting “you can fly, you can roll, you can do anything,” of one young member. Simon Cowell praised that this would have been “another golden buzzer” performance and that the group was much more than a dance group, calling them a movement. This talented ensemble has set itself on a new life course, and lifted its nation and the world.

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After the audience was treated to soaring bodies through the air, the Detroit Youth Choir set hopes soaring again with their re-imagined incarnation of “Can't Hold Us” by Macklemore. The youth ran from the audience aisles to the stage to join the full contingent, and the energy from the new choreography was completely fresh, while the song honored the director of the group, Mr. White, and their full journey on “America's Got Talent.” “This is our moment!” the exuberant youth declared at their close.

Yes, they are right, and many more stellar moments lie ahead. Gabrielle Union reminded them that they all “represent excellence,” and Julianne Hough paid homage to the director once more. Simon Cowell said that “enthusiasm, friendship, talent, and personality” were all embodied by the group. Howie Mandel said that he felt like he was at the “Simon Cowell Day Care Center” through the night of performances.

There was nothing childish about opera wonder Emanne Beasha, in her moving, elegant, ethereal, and moving performance of “La Mamma Morta,” made famous by Maria Callas. It was Emanne’s 11th birthday, but she displayed talent above her own or any age in the rendition. She told a story, and it ended in a roar of applause. Julianne Hough called her “otherworldly” and said that the stars had aligned this night.

Simon Cowell described Beasha as like seeing the Olympics, in disbelief of what is happening. Gabrielle Union said that Emanne is “an angel on earth and a blessing.” Howie Mandel had some fun, telling the lovely girl that the song she chose was the one “I work out to.”

No one could help but to be warmed by the pre-performance profile of “Club Nubb” funnyman, Ryan Niemiller, with his very loving, typical, and funny middle-American family comedy gig. The pride and perseverance through the years by the comic were evident, and Ryan came out with jokes blazing, describing how his newfound fame causes unexpected disturbances at places like garage sales. He was also hilarious in describing that his hands were not “made of crackers” and work perfectly fine for shaking hands upon greeting. Simon made a pitch for Ryan to get a movie part in a comedy as soon as possible, and Gabrielle Union said that she was ready to fulfill that dream. Howie Mandel made it clear that Ryan's heart is at the heart of his comedy, while Julianne Hough agreed with Niemiller’s mother, that he was “where you want to be.” He’s sure to be a headliner for a long time to come.

The rising applause that Ryan savored only continued rising higher for the military service quartet, Voices of Service, who offered Leona Lewis’ song “Footprints in the Sand.” The performance followed an unspeakably emotional segment of the group sharing emotional letters from service members and their families, describing the healing impact of their “America's Got Talent” performances. Howie Mandel assured the ensemble that they were “changing lives every day.” Gabrielle Union called the group “instruments of healing” as Julianne Hough commended the joy and hope that they convey. Simon Cowell summed up what they represent as “sincerity, decency, and talent.” Here's hoping that donations to their service effort keep pouring in for their mission and all those they touch. Leona Lewis will be among the star performers for Wednesday's vote results, so a live duet is very possible.

A true youth wave

Light Balance Kids battled on in this Season 14 competition, even when one of their members, Dennis, fell ill and was sent to the hospital. He continued to practice in his hospital room through recovery, and didn't miss a step in the lively routine set to “Cake By The Ocean.” Simon Cowell admitted being hard on the kids in prior performances, but he praised this one as their “best ever.” Howie Mandel loved the waving wands in the audience and was wowed by the group. Gabrielle Union credited Dennis for his courageous recovery, and Julianne Hough felt that the performance displayed their full talents.

Benicio Bryant also had a birthday on this momentous “America's Got Talent” finals performance, and the now 15-year-old artist delivered another powerful original song with “Six Strings (Because Of You).” The judges and the audience were riveted by the emotion of the singer. Howie Mandel declared: “You could win!” Simon Cowell also told the teenager that he had a “real shot,” along with happy birthday wishes. Julianne Hough already knows that Bryant is “a star.” Benicio expressed being “so thankful” just to be part of this "AGT" experience. It will change his life forever.

The appreciation overflowed for violin prodigy, Tyler Butler Figueroa, as many of the youthful cancer warriors he touches with his music sent messages of support via video. His pure talent and compassionate spirit oozed from the stage throughout his performance of “Survivor” by Destiny's Child. Simon Cowell, who gave Tyler his golden buzzer, wasted no time in letting the young man know that Beyoncé had personally released the song for Tyler's performance. “I'm beaming with pride,” Cowell exclaimed. Howie Mandel said that Figueroa should be proud, and Gabrielle Union felt that he saved this very best performance for his last.

Kodi Lee has inspired and changed Season 14’s competition since his very first audition of Leon Russell's “A Song For You.” The blind, autistic talent who struggles with emotions in life somehow exposes his whole heart and a full spectrum of feelings in song. For the first time, Kodi offered a brief, pre-performance interview, declaring that music was always in his head and that he shows love through his songs. He described being “happy nervous” in preparing for the finals performance but also gave his characteristic “heck yeah” about being excited. This time, he chose Freya Ridings’ “Lost Without You.” Not even breath could be heard as white wands swayed, and Simon Cowell sat silently with a look of wonder on his face. “The world would be lost if we had not found Kodi Lee,” gushed Gabrielle Union over her golden buzzer choice. “Heck yeah!” Howie Mandel agreed. Julianne Hough called it a moment in which time stops. Simon Cowell said that it was one of the most beautiful moments he had ever been a part of. Kodi Lee was still taking in the approving roar of his name from the crowd.

The final performance of the night fell to the Ndlovu Youth Choir, and once more, inspiration reigned to the last note of Toto’s “Africa.” The choral group was a living, breathing splash of joy overflowing from the stage to anyone within range of “America's Got Talent.” The extended performance got better and better with every second, and their captivating performance encapsulated the uniqueness, inclusion, and transformation that embody the continual summer favorite. “This is the best final of my life,” Simon Cowell said without reservation. Julianne and Gabrielle were out of their seats and dancing with joy. Hough said that she felt blessed to be part of her first season.

The blessing was mutual for everyone who witnessed this cavalcade of giftedness. Wednesday will reveal the ultimate champion and include Cher among the celebrity guests to perform with contestants.

Prediction for Season 14 champion:

Kodi Lee

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