Jake’s Take Casts ‘AGT: The Champions-Season Two’

(Photo property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

America’s Got Talent: the Champions will air the final part of its two-part finale on Sunday, Feb. 17. If America’s Got Talent: the Champions returns for a second season, there are plenty of acts from AGT’s historic past that Simon and the producers should cast to represent Team AGT.  Jake’s Take has several casting ideas for Champions’ next chapter that equally serves music and variety acts:

(Photo courtesy of Terry Fator)

Terry Fator (Season Two Winner)

Ventriloquist Terry Fator became a household name from the moment Emma Taylor sang “At Last.” After he won AGT’s sophomore season, Terry became the franchise’s biggest winner ever as he headlines his show at the Mirage at Las Vegas. Terry’s success allowed other ventriloquists such as Season 10 champion Paul Zerdin and Season 12 champion Darci Lynne Farmer to audition for the series.

The Jabbawockeez (Season Two Participants)

 Hip-hop dance crew The Jabbawockeez were the first successful dance group to ever appear on America’s Got Talent. Without their appearance on the NBC talent competition, they would not have had the success on America’s Best Dance Crew. Like Terry Fator, the Jabbawockeez are now dominating Las Vegas at the MGM Grand. After their appearance on World of Dance, I believe that the Jabbawockeez are ready to step up and face off against the rest of the Got Talent dance acts.

(Photo property of NBC & Syco TV)

Barbara Padilla (Season Four Runner-Up)

Opera singer and friend to the blog, Barbara Padilla, will celebrate her tenth anniversary auditioning for AGT this year.  She delivered moving performances from “O Mio Babbino Caro,” “Time to Say Goodbye,” and “Ave Maria” that captured the hearts of fans from around the world.  Barbara’s success also paved the way for Jackie Evancho, Andrew de Leon, the Forte Tenors, Branden James, and Laura Bretan. She is the true embodiment of what America’s Got Talent: the Champions is all about and definitely deserves to be a part of the cast.

Grandma Lee (Season Four Finalist)

From her very first audition, comedian Grandma Lee delivered fiery material that made audiences laugh hysterically. I think Grandma Lee does have a shot to showcase the country that you are never too old to compete for your dreams. While she may have a challenge if Heidi is still on the panel, Grandma Lee would be a strong contender for the Golden Buzzer.

Fighting Gravity America's Got Talent
(Photo property of NBC, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO TV)

Fighting Gravity (Season Five Finalist-Third Place)

Blacklight dance group Fighting Gravity brought the dance act to the next level of excellence. Their performances blew the audience and judges away, and I think veteran AGT fans first thought of Fighting Gravity when the spinoff was announced. Since their time on the show, they performed on the American Music Awards with will.i.am and Jennifer Lopez and entertained audiences around the world. I think it is time for Fighting Gravity to return to the AGT family to showcase why they originated the art of blacklight performance.

(Photo property of NBC’s Trae Patton)

Alice Tan Ridley (Season Five Semifinalist)

In past Jake’s Take articles, I mentioned that Alice Tan Ridley is AGT’s Queen of R&B. Her powerful voice delivered remarkable moments including her outstanding interpretations of Etta James’ “At Last” and Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Since her time on the NBC talent competition, she released her studio album and performed in the New York City subways. I think Alice is a perfect ambassador for AGT and I believe that she would represent the show on a global level.

Team iLuminate (Season Six Finalists-Third Place)

When Team iLuminate auditioned for the show’s sixth season, the dance crew showcased the fusion of technology and dance together that lead to several epic performances. The dance crew received impeccable remarks from the judges, which lead them to a third-place finish. Since their time on the show, the group performed around the country.  I firmly believe that that Team iLuminate would dominate America’s Got Talent: the Champions if the show’s production team asks them back.

William Close & The Earth Harp Collective (Season Seven Finalists-Third Place)

Instrument maker William Close is probably one of the best music acts to appear on the Howard Stern era of America’s Got Talent.  From his first audition, William Close’s creativity and passion for performing took season seven to a whole new level of excellence. He set the bar for so many music acts and it would be a crime if William is not included in the next round of America’s Got Talent: The Champions.

Andrew De Leon Regresa A Mi
(Photo property of SYCOTV & NBC)

Andrew De Leon (Season Seven Semifinalist)

Andrew De Leon shocked the audience with his self-taught operatic voice during the Season Seven auditions. Despite the breakout audition, he was shockingly eliminated the Vegas Week rounds. Fans demanded that the show bring him back, thankfully Howie Mandel selected him to be one of his Wild Card acts and Andrew redeemed himself with a moving performance of “Regresa A Mi.” Since the show, Andrew self-released music, but I think with his loyal fanbase and couple it with the fact that he could go toe-to-toe with some of Got Talent’s best vocalists makes him a very strong candidate to return for Champions.

Forte (Season Eight Finalists-Fourth Place)

The Forte Tenors represent a collective of some of the best voices of the millennial generation. While Season Eight showed two different incarnations of the group, it was Josh Page, Francisco Varela, and Sean Panikkar that took the Radio City Music Hall by storm! From “My Heart Will Go On” to “The Prayer,” this group set itself for a bright future in the music industry.  If AGT producers bring back Forte for Champions, I really hope they include Hana Ryu, who originally auditioned with Page and Varela in the line-up. Together, Forte would be an unstoppable force in the competition and be one of the stronger contenders to win Champions’ sophomore season.  

Collins Key (Season Eight Finalist-Fifth Place)

Collins Key still holds the record of being the youngest magician to make it to an America’s Got Talent finale. His tricks were amazing and showcased impeccable showmanship for any performer of his generation. He mystified everyone from the judges to Hoda and Kathie Lee and found post-show success when he toured with Demi Lovato. With his vast social media following 2.3 million Instagram fans and 16 million YouTube subscribers, America’s Got Talent: The Champions could be Collins’ ultimate test to see if he still pull off amazing magic tricks.

Classical crossover singer Branden James stole America's hearts when he appeared on "America's Got Talent" earlier this year. (Photo property of NBC's Virginia Sherwood)
(Photo property of NBC’s Virginia Sherwood)

Branden James (Season Eight Top 12)

Of all of the acts that appeared during the show’s eighth season, I am extremely fond of tenor Branden James. Through his powerful interpretations of “You Raise Me Up,” “Hallelujah,” and “Alone,” Branden commanded the Radio City Music Hall live shows. Since the Season Eight finale, Branden released new music, found love with husband James Clark, and together, they performed around the world.  While Branden might face an uphill battle if he is asked back for Champions, I truly believe that he (along with James) would deliver a Golden Buzzer worthy performance that has the potential of going viral.

(Photo property of NBC)

AcroArmy (Season Nine Finalists-Third Place)

AcroArmy remains one of the best acrobatic acts to ever appear on America’s Got Talent! Each round, this elite group of gymnasts and acrobatics delivered electric performances that had both the judges and the Radio City Music Hall audience on their feet.  Unfortunately, it seems this group has disbanded (their website expired and they have been inactive on social media). However, I truly believe that the AGT producers could contact Arthur Davis, the group’s founder, and ask them to participate against other Got Talent acrobatic acts, the group could easily reform for this high stakes championship series.

Emil & Dariel I Don't Want to Miss A Thing AGT
(Photo property of NBC, FremantleMedia North America & Syco Entertainment)

Emil & Dariel (Season Nine Top 12)

I have said this before in numerous AGT-related articles. Without rock cellists Emil and Dariel making it to the Season Nine finals, the show would not experience the intense rush of youth acts. Grace VanderWaal, Darci Lynne Farmer, Angelica Hale, and Musicality all benefited from Emil and Dariel’s epic run.  From their audition to their spectacular cover of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Emil and Dariel’s artistry gave viewers chills.  The brothers are still masters of their craft, and I honestly think that they have a strong chance of winning a Golden Buzzer if they are invited to compete on Season Two.

Oz Pearlman Mentalist AGT
(Photo property of NBC, FremantleMedia North America & SYCO Entertainment)

Oz Pearlman (Season 10 Finalist-Third Place)

Friend to the blog, Oz Pearlman, introduced his impeccable talent of mentalism during the show’s tenth anniversary season. The New York City native delivered superb performances throughout his run and is definitely one of the most successful mentalists in show history.  If Oz is selected for Champions’ second season, I hope that he incorporates some of his work from his Truth Be Told show.

Malevo (Season 11 Semifinalists-George Lopez’s Golden Buzzer)

This octet remains one of the best dance troupes to ever appear on the Simon Cowell era of AGT. The Argentinean Malambo group’s choreography brought Season 11 to a whole another level of excellence. Malevo’s excellent showmanship impressed George Lopez so much that he gave them the Golden Buzzer. Sadly, this group was eliminated before the Season 11 finale and I truly believe Malevo is ready to take on the international Got Talent dance crews.

Musicality Vocal Group performs Born This Way
(Photo property of NBC)

Musicality Vocal Group (Season 11 Semifinalists)

It has been well documented that I dislike kid acts. However, Chicago-based Musicality surprised me and transformed me into a blubbering mess every time they took the stage. Under the fantastic direction of the music director Michael Gibson, these students shined.  Some of their best performances were One Direction’s “Night Changes” and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”  Last year, the group celebrated their tenth anniversary by releasing a cover of The Greatest Showman’sFrom Now On.” The viral video is proof that they need to participate in Season Two.

Julia Scotti (Season 11 Quarterfinalist)

Stand-up comedienne Julia Scotti blazed a trail after she auditioned for Season 11. This former sixth grade Language Arts teacher returned to the stand-up comedy world in a huge way. Her excellent material made audiences laugh all the way to the Dolby Theatre quarterfinals. I believe that Julia was eliminated before her time and I think Champions would not be the same without her.

(Photo property of NBC & Syco Entertainment)

Moya Angela (Season 11 Quarterfinalist)

America’s Got Talent: The Champions focuses on amazing talent getting second chances. One singer that perfectly represents what this show is about is Season 11 quarterfinalist: singer Moya Angela. She gave the best vocal performances of the season starting with an incomparable cover of Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” to Whitney Houston’s “I Didn’t Own My Own Strength.” I think Moya does has what it takes to face off against other international Got Talent singers and she could create show-stopping moments.

Diavolo (Season 12 Finalists-Top 10)

While every AGT fan brings up Darci Lynne Farmer, Angelica Hale, and Light Balance when they think of the twelfth season, there is one act I believe should represent that season: Diavolo. This Los Angeles-based acrobatic dance group’s performances had both the judges and the audience on the edge of their seats.  Diavolo has the potential to face off against other dance acts, but I believe that this next act might be their biggest rival…

Zurcaroh AGT
(Screenshot property of NBC)

Zurcaroh (Season 13 Runner-Ups; Tyra Banks’ Golden Buzzer)

Tyra Banks’ final Golden Buzzer act, Zurcaroh, might probably be a huge frontrunner if asked back for Champions. At each stage of the competition, this massive collective raised the bar for aerial dance acts with their electrifying stunts and mind-blowing choreography.

Angel City Chorale The Rising
(Photo property of NBC’s Trae Patton; courtesy of the Angel City Chorale)

Angel City Chorale (Season 13 Semifinalist; Olivia Munn’s Golden Buzzer)

Los Angeles-based music organization and friends to the blog, Angel City Chorale, should have been on this season. Lead by their impeccable director Sue Fink, the choir’s message of community building through song made an impact on their season. Through their outstanding performances of “Africa,” “Baba Yetu,” and “The Rising,”  Angel City Chorale not only inspired the nation, but also set the standard for future choirs to compete on future Got Talent series.

Christina Wells America's Got Talent
(Screenshot property of NBC)

Christina Wells (Season 13 Semifinalist)

Houston, Texas native Christina Wells is, in my opinion, the living definition of America’s Got Talent: the Champions.  Her superb performances of “I Know Where I’ve Been,” “Never Enough,” and “I Am Changing” inspired the nation to continue to pursue their dreams. Her elimination right before the Season 13 finale shocked the country and she has unfinished business with AGT.  Because of that reason, I think Christina would be a perfect addition to the Season Two cast.

(Photo property of NBC & Oztix)

Hans (Season 13 Quarterfinalist)

Rounding out the Season Two dream cast is everyone’s favorite German performers—Hans! The international superstar gave “Beyonce level shows on a Demi Lovato budget.” He delivered fantastic covers of “Proud Mary” and “Spice Up Your Life” spiced up Season 13. I thought that Hans has potential to make Champions’ sophomore season one to remember if producers invite him back.

I do not own the clips that are featured in this article. The ‘America’s Got Talent’ clips belong to NBC, FremantleMedia North America and Syco Television.   Meanwhile, “From Now On” is Musicality’s property.


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