Jake’s Take’s The Best ‘AGT’ Performances of the 2010s

Nick Cannon presses the Golden Buzzer
Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell, and former host Nick Cannon headlined the ‘AGT’ on-air team for most of the 2010s. (Photo property of NBC & SYCO Television)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

It is hard to believe that on Wednesday, Sept. 18, America’s Got Talent (AGT) will air its final episode in the 2010s. Over the past seven years, Jake’s Take has covered eight regular seasons and the inaugural season of America’s Got Talent: The Champions. Countless singers and musicians have graced the stage, but only 20 performers have made it to Jake’s Take’s Best AGT Performances of the 2010s.

Carmen Carter took AGT: Season 14 to church with her fiery cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together.” (Video property of NBC)

20) Carmen Carter: “Come Together” (America’s Got Talent: Season 14; 2019)

Former Dancing with the Stars backup singer Carmen Carter kicks off this countdown. She stepped center stage this season and delivered impeccable performances. Her best one was during the Season 14 Judge Cuts, where Carmen performed a fiery cover of the Beatles classic.

In the Stairwell delivered a rousing take of Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill” got gave AGT: Season 12 viewers chills. (Video property of NBC)

19) In the Stairwell: “Castle on the Hill” (America’s Got Talent: Season 12, 2017)

The U.S. Air Force A cappella group put a superb twist on Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill.” In the Stairwell allowed for other A cappella groups to audition for the NBC talent competition. I wished that they got the same treatment that both Pentatonix and Home Free got due to the now-defunct The Sing-Off.

After failing to impress the American Idol judges, Sal struck gold on AGT with a rousing cover of “My Way.” (Video property of NBC)

18) Sal Valentinetti: “My Way” (America’s Got Talent: Season 11, 2016)

Season 11 finalist Sal Valentinetti has a long history with talent-based competition shows. He originally auditioned for one of the last FOX seasons of American Idol. However, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr. unceremoniously dumped him during Hollywood Week. But Idol’s lost was AGT’s gain as the crooner delivered an impeccable cover of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” that earned Heidi Klum’s Golden Buzzer. This was the only time that I questioned J.Lo and the former talk show host’s opinions regarding vocal talent.

Chicago vocal group and AGT: Season 11 semifinalists Musicality gave me chills with their impeccable cover of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” (Video property of NBC)

17) Musicality: “Born This Way” (America’s Got Talent: Season 11, 2016)

Chicago-based choir Musicality paved the way for Detroit Youth Choir and NDLOVU’s AGT success. Under the direction of Michael Gibson, these kids delivered impeccable musical numbers every time they performed on the Dolby Theatre stage. However, their cover of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” will always remain one of my favorite performance of theirs.

Robert Finley’s “Medicine Woman” was a highlight of the AGT: Season 14 Judge Cuts. (Video property of NBC)

16) Robert Finley: “Medicine Woman” (America’s Got Talent: Season 14, 2019)

Vietnam War veteran Robert Finley is one of Season 14’s breakout stars. His powerful vocals remind me of legendary Blues/R&B musicians B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Sam Moore. Robert’s original song, “Medicine Woman,” gave me chills, and I pray that Simon allows him to record this song after the show.

Christina Wells delivered an outstanding cover of the Dreamgirls anthem, “I Am Changing,” during the AGT: Season 13 Quarterfinals. (Video property of NBC)

15) Christina Wells: “I Am Changing” (America’s Got Talent: Season 13, 2018)

Jake’s Take friend, Christina Wells, delivered a powerful cover of Dreamgirls anthem, “I Am Changing” during the AGT: Season 13 live shows. It was probably one of Christina’s best vocal performances of the season!

Sharon Irving delivered a beautiful cover of “Glory” during AGT’s tenth anniversary season. (Video property of NBC & Syco Entertainment)

14) Sharon Irving: “Glory” (America’s Got Talent: Season 10, 2015)

Mel B’s Golden Buzzer act, Sharon Irving, delivered a moving performance of the Oscar-winning song: “Glory.” Sharon perfectly blended rap and soul that not only inspired the Radio City Music Hall audience but the nation as well.

Kodi Lee’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” showcased his potential for post-AGT success in the music industry. (Video property of NBC)

13) Kodi Lee, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (America’s Got Talent: Season 14, 2019)

Clay Aiken might have some competition in the race of best Reality TV interpreter of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Season 14 fan-favorite Kodi Lee moved audiences to tears with his live show debut with a pitch-perfect cover of the anthem.

Glennis Grace delivered a powerful performance of The Greatest Showman’s “Never Enough” that blew the AGT audience away. (Video property of NBC)

12) Glennis Grace, “Never Enough” (America’s Got Talent: Season 13, 2018)

Glennis Grace stunned the Season 13 audience with her beautiful cover of The Greatest Showman’s “Never Enough.” Glennis beautifully showcased her vocal range as she interpreted the Pasek and Paul-penned tune.

Alice Tan Ridley invited the AGT: Season Five audience to board a “Midnight Train to Georgia” with her. (Video property of NBC)

11) Alice Tan Ridley, “Midnight Train to Georgia” (America’s Got Talent: Season Five, 2010)

I believe that Alice Tan Ridley is one act that AGT should have supported outside the show during the show’s fifth season. The New York City subway singer delivered powerful interpretations of soul classics with her dynamo vocals. Sadly this was also the same season that Jackie Evancho made her debut and I believe that Alice should have received the same support that the opera singer was given.

Prince Poppycock delivered an outstanding cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” that remains a part of the AGT Hall of Fame. (Video property of NBC)

10) Prince Poppycock, “Bohemian Rhapsody” (America’s Got Talent: Season Five, 2010)

Prince Poppycock kicks off the Top 10! The legendary AGT performer’s over the top performances made Season Five one of the show’s best seasons. He transported the audience to his castle where he delivered a popera take on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” that cemented his place as one of the NBC’s talent competition’s greatest acts.

Edgar Family Band made me weep when they sang a beautiful cover of “Bless the Broken Road” during the AGT: Season 11 semifinals. (Video property of NBC)

9) Edgar Family Band, “Bless the Broken Road” (America’s Got Talent: Season 11, 2016)

The Edgar Family Band was an act that was either hit or miss in my opinion. While I thought they were okay during the Judges Auditions and Judge Cuts, the trio came into their own during the Season 11 live shows.  One of my favorite performances of theirs is their impeccable cover of Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road.” They made me cry and gave me chills.

Sons of Serendip’s beautiful cover of Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” sent them to the AGT: Season Nine finale. (Video property of NBC)

8) Sons of Serendip, “Ordinary World” (America’s Got Talent: Season Nine, 2014)

AGT: Season Nine’s Top 12 night remains one of the best performance nights in show history. Three of their fantastic music acts delivered some of the season’s memorable moments that evening. Up first, Jake’s Take friends Sons of Serendip. The quartet beautifully rearranged Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” and its successful performance lead them to the Season Nine finale.

Brothers Emil & Dariel gave the AGT: Season Nine audience chills with their beautiful interpretation of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” (Video property of NBC)

7) Emil & Dariel, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” (America’s Got Talent: Season Nine, 2014)

Jake’s Take friends Emil & Dariel might have been the inspiration for countless young performers auditioning for the NBC talent competition. Just as Sons of Serendip, Emil & Dariel were also part of the Season Nine Top 12 episode. They delivered one of the best covers of an Aerosmith song on a talent-based TV show. The brothers’ arrangement and decision to add a band and chorus with them was a spectacular move. I hope Simon and the AGT production team invite them to compete on Champions’ sophomore season.

Linkin’ Bridge’s “7 Years” made the AGT: Season 11 audience cry. (Video property of NBC)

6) Linkin’ Bridge, “7 Years” (America’s Got Talent: Season 11, 2016)

One of my favorite moments of my 20s was when I saw a taping of America’s Got Talent: Season 11 Judge Auditions. In addition to receiving a fist bump from Howie Mandel and shaking hands with Simon, I distinctively remember watching Linkin’ Bridge sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I prayed that the Kentucky quartet would make it to the Season 11 Live Shows. Their best performance was their haunting cover of Lukas Graham’s “7 Years.” It moved me to tears and sent them to the Season 11 finale.

Emily West’s “Nights in White Satin” remains one of the best performances from AGT: Season Nine. (Video property of NBC)

5) Emily West, “Nights in White Satin” (America’s Got Talent: Season Nine, 2014)

Emily West remains one of the best solo singers to have ever graced the AGT stage. The siren delivered haunting covers of EDM and rock classics. She is the last performer from the Season Nine Top 12 night that made this countdown. Emily’s gorgeous cover of the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” not only cemented her place in the Season Nine finals, but also in the NBC singing competition’s pantheon of fantastic singers.

Branden James’ “Hallelujah” gave everyone chills when he performed the song on the Radio City Music Hall stage during AGT: Season Eight. (Video property of NBC)

4) Branden James, “Hallelujah” (America’s Got Talent: Season Eight, 2013)

Longtime friend of Jake’s Take, Branden James, remains one of the most powerful operatic singers to ever appear on a Got Talent stage. While he was unable to make it to the Season Eight finale, Branden cemented his future in the music industry with a hauntingly, beautiful cover of Leonard Cohen’s classic “Hallelujah.”

Angel City Chorale’s “The Rising” illuminated the Dolby Theatre during the AGT: Season 13 semifinals. (Video property of NBC)

3) Angel City Chorale, “The Rising” (America’s Got Talent: Season 13, 2018)

Angel City Chorale is probably the best choir that has appeared on AGT. Under the direction of Sue Fink, this 160-member chorus mission by building community one song at a time struck a chord with me. During their final appearance on the NBC talent competition, Angel City Chorale paid tribute to the 9/11 first responders with a beautiful rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising.”

The Forte Tenors’ second incarnation elevated “The Prayer” to new heights during the AGT: Season Eight finale. (Video property of NBC)

2) Forte Tenors, “The Prayer” (America’s Got Talent: Season Eight, 2013)

The second incarnation of the Forte Tenors (Josh Page, Sean Panikkar, and Fernando Varela) revisited their Las Vegas Judge Cuts performance of “The Prayer” during the Season Eight finale. With the help of creative producer Brian Burke, a choir, an orchestra, and the Radio City Music Hall audience, the trio elevated the Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli duet to new heights.

Andew De Leon’s triumphant return to AGT: Season Seven is the best performance from the 2010 era.
  1. Andrew De Leon, “Regresa A Mi” (America’s Got Talent: Season Seven, 2012)

Self-taught singer Andrew De Leon was AGT: Season Seven’s breakout star. While he stunned the judges during the auditions, his abysmal performance during Vegas Week sent him home. However, fans demanded that the AGT production team bring back Andrew as a Wild Card act. Howie made Andrew’s dreams come true when he invited him back to perform in the Season Seven Wild Card show. Andrew’s “Regresa A Mi” remains not only the best performance of the 2010s but also the best AGT comeback performance of all-time!

I do not own any of these clips. They belong to NBC and Syco Entertainment.


  1. […] Note: Earlier this summer, I revealed my Top 20 ‘America’s Got Talent’ performances from the decade. Click on the link to find out which performances made the […]

  2. […] While Andrew was unanimously voted “Yes” to the Season Seven Judge Cuts Rounds, he messed up his audition, which cost him a place in the competition. Fans were outraged by Andrew’s shocking elimination and took to social media and asked the show to bring him back. However, redemption arrived in the form of Howie Mandel’s Wild Card. With newfound confidence, Andrew de Leon traveled to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and delivered one of the show’s greatest comeback performances of all-time.  […]

Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar