On Monday, the first part of the finals for America’s Got Talent: All-Stars took place, and among the 11 acts that competed, one of them was a participant who was looking for “redemption.” Many fans feel that this performer should have won the competition two years ago: Aidan Bryant, the second-place finisher of Season 16, is an aerialist.

Back in 2021, Bryant, a teenager from a rural area, appeared to have the best chance of winning that year’s $1 million prize and a residency in Las Vegas. Bryant taught himself stunts on a level comparable to those performed by Cirque du Soleil by watching videos on YouTube and swinging from sheets tied to trees in his backyard. In spite of this, the title was awarded to the underdog magician Dustin Tavella after the final vote was the most closely contested in the history of America’s Got Talent. The public was dismayed, but not quite to the same extent as Bryant himself.

Bryant, who was only 16 years old when he first competed, admitted earlier this All-Stars season that when it came down to him and Tavella on the Season 16 finale and he heard the studio audience overwhelmingly “screaming my name,” he thought to himself, “Oh, I’ve got this” — and he was then “crushed” when he lost. Bryant began competing when he was 16 years old. Judge Simon Cowell reportedly remembers the young acrobat being “in pieces” after his failure, and he told Bryant, “I’ve never seen somebody look so sad in my life. And I recall coming up to you afterward and assuring you that this is not the end, as if to say, “I assure you.”

And Cowell was absolutely correct. This week, Bryant gave a performance on Monday’s broadcast in the highly desired “pimp slot,” and the show saved the best for last. Because to the fact that Bryant’s routine was so flawless and risky, Simon Cowell let out an obscenity as it was being shown on national television. (NBC censors were kind enough to cover up Simon Cowell’s lips with an America’s Got Talent logo whenever he spoke an inappropriate word; the program is intended for children, after all.)

A bewildered Simon Cowell recently said, “I am literally hunting for [supposedly PG-rated] phrases right now.” “This reminds me of when I was a child and I used to watch the Olympics… and the judges would simply say, ’10, 10, 10, 10, 10′” That’s how it seemed to me at the time. I have never, ever, ever seen something so fantastic as that, as well as anything that was so risky, so smart, and so well-coordinated… Whether it was in a movie, on this program, or anyplace else. After that performance, I believe everything about you has undergone a full transformation.

Bryant may very well end up in the winner’s circle this time, but the blind and autistic musical prodigy Kodi Lee, who was the champion of America’s Got Talent Season 14, will be his toughest competitor heading into the All-Stars grand finale the following week. Lee’s performance of Leon Russell’s “A Song for You” during his Golden Buzzer audition four years ago became the U.S. series’ most viral moment of all time, with more than 430 million online views; since then, he has headlined in Vegas and amassed an even more devoted following. The moment became the U.S. series’ most viral moment of all time. Last week, Lee sang a stark, eerie, and all-around gorgeous performance of “Heroes” by David Bowie, which caused Simon Cowell to exclaim, “That was simply great — honestly, fantastic. And by the way, wow, that song’s lyrics took on a whole new significance for us at that very moment… There is a complete and utter hush whenever you take the stage. Everyone is intent, and they are taking in every word that is being spoken.”

While it may seem like Bryant or Lee had a better chance of winning the tournament, the truth is that all of the finalists delivered their best games on Monday. In the first episode of the All-Stars season, host Terry Crews chose the Detroit Youth Choir to receive the Golden Buzzer. Judge Heidi Klum remarked that the group was “by far the best choir I have ever seen,” and the rest of the panel was similarly impressed by their triumphant performance of Panic! “Hey Look Ma I Made It,” which was performed by At the Disco.

Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer pick, the Ukrainian dance troupe Light Balance Kids, wowed the judges with an improved performance that Mandel described as “one of the most exciting live performances I have ever seen.” However, Howie also predicted that Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer recipient, comedian Mike E. Winfield, could become the first comedian to win America’s Got Talent.

This season’s group Golden Buzzer winner, British crooner Tom Ball (also known as “Susan Boyle’s grandson”), performed Radiohead’s outsider anthem “Creep” in a baroque and super-melodramatic style that earned him a standing ovation from the judges and had Simon Cowell raving, “Everything about this has just been amazing, because it was one of those performances that shouldn’t work, but did work, and it

And last, another one of the audience’s favorites, the hand-balancing three known as the Bello Sisters, performed a perilous, “amazing and gorgeous” tour de force that was, in Simon Cowell’s words, “everything this finale should have” and offered them a genuine “shot at winning.”

There is a chance that any one of these competitors may win the competition, but the judges won’t be given any input in the conclusion next week, and unfortunately, neither will the audience at home. Instead, the winner of the first-ever season of America’s Got Talent: All-Stars will be chosen by a shadowy and exclusive group of alleged “superfans” who will be viewing the finals from a faraway location (they will be pre-recorded). And all during this season, the superfans have made some choices that have left everyone scratching their heads, which means that virtually anything may happen. However, it is important to note that Aiden Bryant’s former adversary, Dustin Tavella, did not even make it to the finals of the All-Stars competition this year. This means that regardless of whether or not Bryant wins the All-Stars competition on the following Monday, he has already found his redemption.

By Anna

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