Jake’s Take’s ‘AGT: Season 18’ Acts to Watch

Howie, Heidi, Terry, Sofia, and Simon pose together during a taping of AGT: Season 18 (Photo property of NBC)

Howie, Heidi, Terry, Sofia, and Simon pose together during a taping of AGT: Season 18 (Photo property of NBC)


By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

The America’s Got Talent (AGT): Season 18 Live Shows start this Tuesday! This year, 55 acts (selected by the judges) will compete on the Pasadena Civic Auditorium stage for the show’s signature $1 million prize and a chance to headline America’s Got Talent Presents Superstars Live at Luxor Las Vegas.

Every year, Jake’s Take with Jacob Elyachar endorses several acts that can win AGT and use it as a launching pad into successful careers in the entertainment industry. For the past two years, we have included several performers on our “Acts to Watch” list who have gone on to win the show – Dustin Tavella in 2021 and the Mayyas last year.

Will any of my selected acts join them in the winners’ circle?


Anna DeGuzman (Magician) 

I was a massive fan of Anna DeGuzman after she auditioned for Australia’s Got Talent in 2022, and I was thoroughly surprised when she auditioned for AGT’s eighteenth season. Anna is a fantastic magician, and I look forward to seeing how she elevates her tricks to the next level during the Live Shows. 


Avantgardey (Dance crew) 

Osaka, Japan-based dance crew Avantgardey made me smile when they performed on the Pasadena Civic Auditorium stage. Their choreography was outstanding and thoroughly entertained the judges and audience. I believe that they could be one of this season’s dark horses.


Brynn Cummings (Ventriloquist + Mentalist) 

12-year-old performer Brynn Cummings and her friend, Penelope, married two of AGT’s beloved art forms: mentalism and ventriloquism. Brynn is an amazing performer who is ready for Branson and Vegas. She could be one of the last acts standing if she continues to deliver outstanding routines. 


Chibi Unity (Dance crew; Group Golden Buzzer) 

Chibi Unity delivered the “perfect” AGT audition, earning them the final Golden Buzzer of Season 18! I was very impressed by this dance group, and I thoroughly see them as a Vegas-ready act. 


Eduardo Antonio Trevino (Mariachi singer) 

11-year-old Houston, Texas native Eduardo Antonio Trevino could be one of his generation’s breakout stars from this season. In all my years of covering AGT, I have never seen a youth act dominate the stage like Eduardo did. I believe that the NBC talent competition is just Eduardo’s beginning. He could be his generation’s, Vincente Fernandez. 


Freedom Singers (Choir) 

There are a few auditions that I go back to YouTube to watch, and Freedom Singers is one of them. I was in awe of their powerful interpretation of Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ “Under the Bridge,” the group’s harmonies and the solo singers’ vocals gave me chills. No matter what happens this season, this group will continue to showcase their magic on massive venues. 


Gabriel Henrique (Singer; Sofia Vergara’s Golden Buzzer) 

Brazilian singer Gabriel Henrique gave the audience chills when he sang Whitney Houston’s “Run to You.” His vocal range is excellent, and I am glad Sofia picked him as her Golden Buzzer act. He has the potential to join Jake’s Take with Jacob Elyachar Podcast guests Andrew De Leon, Branden James, and Jimmie Herrod in the AGT male singers pantheon. Gabriel could make show history with the right song choices and become the first male singer in five years. If he wins, Sofia Vergara could also make show history and become the first judge whose Golden Buzzer acts to win two consecutive seasons. 


Justin Jackson (Tap Dancer) 

Tap dancer Justin Jackson is the first solo dancer since Season Eight champion Kenichi Ebina to electrify the AGT stage. His footwork blew me away, and Justin has the potential to elevate his act to the next level of excellence.  


Lachuné (singer) 

Part-time voice teacher Lachuné was robbed of a Golden Buzzer! Her hypnotic vocals and beautiful phrasing elevated one of Coldplay’s signature songs, “Yellow,” and transformed it into a soulful anthem that gave everyone goosebumps. I am so excited to see what Lachuné brings to the Season 18 Live Shows because she is one of the best singers we have seen this decade. 


Mandy Muden (Magician) 

I was excited to see Britain’s Got Talent alum Mandy Muden walk across the stage. The UK-based magician blew me away during her 2018 run, and I hoped she would audition for the NBC talent competition. Mandy combines humor and magic, the perfect ingredients for a Vegas show and nationwide tour.


Mzansi Youth Choir (Choir; Audience’s Golden Buzzer) 

The South African-based Mzansi Youth Choir moved the judges and the audience when they gave their beautiful interpretation of the late Nightbirde’s “It’s OK.” I wept when they performed the cover, and for the first time in show history, they were lucky recipients of the audience’s Golden Buzzer. Despite the outcome, I could see this choir go beyond the NBC talent competition and Las Vegas and become a worldwide sensation. 


Oleksandr Leshchenko & Magic Innovations (3D Dancing) 

I will be highly disappointed with the AGT fanbase if Oleksandr Leshchenko & Magic Innovations are not in the final five or top three at the end of the season. Their audition was one of the most spectacular performances that I have seen since I started covering the NBC talent competition in 2012. They are ready for Vegas and to receive the life-changing $1 million prize.


Philip Bowen (Violinist) 

Philip Bowen brought the house down with his superb violin skills. The Detroit, Michigan violinist surprised the audience with an excellent take on a System of a Down song. If he continues to pick the right pieces, this father of three might find himself in the Winners’ Circle.


Putri Ariani (Singer and Pianist; Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer) 

There are a lot of singers in this competition, but there is something magical about Putri Ariani. Her original song gave me goosebumps, but her take on the legendary Sir Elton John’s “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word” not only earned Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer but earned her the frontrunner title status. I would not be surprised if Putri is one of the last acts standing this season because she has the chance to be a global superstar.  


Ramadhani Brothers (Head-to-head balancing act) 

I first saw The Ramadhani Brothers dominate Australia’s Got Talent’s tenth anniversary season, including not only receiving the Golden Buzzer from Kate Ritchie but making it to the Grand Final. I was thrilled to see the brothers walk on the Pasadena Civic Auditorium stage, and they did not disappoint. This sibling set has the potential to not only make the finals but perform on the Las Vegas strip!


Sangsoon Kim (Magician) 

South Korean military veteran Sangsoon Kim auditioned for the show because he wanted to be better than AGT legend Yu Hojin in the magic category. After watching his superb audition repeatedly, Sangsoon has the potential to not only match Yu in the magic category but make it further than him.


Steel Panther (Band) 

Legendary Los Angeles-based glam rock band blew me away when they performed their original tune: “Eyes of a Panther.” I thoroughly enjoyed their sound, and if “Eyes of a Panther” was anything, I want Steel Panther to be the first rock band to make it to the AGT finale. 


Warrior Squad (Dance Crew)

Warrior Squad is my final AGT: Season 18 Act to Watch. This 17-member India-based dance crew delivered everything I wanted from an acrobatic dance team. Warrior Squad is Las Vegas ready and worthy of inheriting the Mayyas’ crown and sash.

Who are your favorite AGT: Season 18 acts? Join me on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the Season 18 Live Shows! 


Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar