After last week’s results show, America’s Got Talent viewers complained that this season’s finals are lopsidedly stacked with singers. In fact, a whopping six of the 10 finalists who competed this Tuesday, in the hopes of being crowned the Season 15 champion, were vocalists. But with all these singers likely to split the votes, that could clear the way for one of the other four contestants — notably aerialist Alan Silva — to prevail instead.
But whatever happens on Wednesday’s grand finale, Alan has clearly already won at life — even if there was time, as the contentedly married father confessed this Tuesday, when he thought he would never find true happiness.
“My entire life, I felt rejected by society because of my size,” Alan, a little person, explained. “It was hard. Growing up, I never thought I would get married, because most people dream of meeting that tall, handsome guy, their Prince Charming. I know I'm not that. So, I gave up on love. I was OK being alone forever.”
The 38-year-old Cirque du Soleil performer and circus-family veteran (he’s the brother of knife-thrower Alfredo Silva, from AGT Season 11 daredevil act Deadly Games), who’d once been encouraged to “just be a clown” because of his height, went on to explain that everything changed when he met his wife, Bethany. She was working in the Cirque wardrobe department at the time, and Alan developed a crush but assumed that his feelings would not be reciprocated. “I was afraid that she would never be able to love me the way I was. But one day, she said, ‘I love you,’” he recalled. “It was a different life than I had envisioned — years later, here we are.”
The couple had been separated during Alan’s past few weeks competing on the AGT live shows, and Alan was understandably missing Bethany deeply… so, of course, right on cue, she showed up to the set Tuesday for his big night. Her surprise visit didn’t just make for good TV; it made for a good performance too. Bethany seemed to light a fire under Alan, so to speak, and he pulled off his most dramatic and dangerous act of the season, complete with blazing pyrotechnics — and gallons of water as well. All of the judges were wowed.
“People really underestimated you, people bullied you, because of your size,” said Heidi Klum. “And I really do hope that all of these people are watching right now, because you're so talented, and you have the most gorgeous wife, the most gorgeous family, and you're one step away from possibly winning that million dollars.” Howie Mandel additionally told Alan that he had “upped his game” when it mattered most.
Sadly, few of Tuesday’s other performers upped the stakes. Typically stellar tween singer Roberta Battaglia’s “Scars to Your Beautiful” suffered from an awkward arrangement, sounding rushed, pitchy, and fatigued. Indian ballroom dancers Bad Salsa executed some impressive stunts and tricks, but their transitions were clunky, without enough actual choreography. Spoken-word artist Brandon Leake, who’d previously delivered a series of heart-breaking and intense poems about the Black Lives Matter movement and his absentee father, played it way too safe with a mushy ode to his baby daughter. Country music duo Broken Roots sucked all the drama and urgency of out Phil Collins’s “In the Air Tonight” and seemed like they were shooting some generic truck commercial. Hand-balancing trio the Bello Sisters were shaky in spots, and Howie thought their routine was slow.
And while teen country crooner Kenadi Dodds gave her best performance yet by channeling mid-aughts Taylor Swift on a strummy cover of Carrie Underwood’s lilting “Love Wins,” and Archie Williams’s take on the Beatles’ civil rights movement-inspired “Blackbird” had a lot of character and heart, neither performance was grand enough to feel like a finale moment. If a singer is to win this week, it’ll either be another child prodigy, Daneliya Tuleshova, or diva Cristina Rae, whose respective Sia and Imagine Dragons covers were magnificent, powerful, and flawless.
But it is very possible that when host Terry Crews reads the results Wednesday, it will be time for another one of Alan Silva’s dreams to be realized. “For me, it [already] feels like a dream come true, to be on the greatest stage in the world with all these amazing people, to get this far,” declared Alan. “I just want to empower people and help people realize that they were born for greatness, no matter how they look, no matter what they go through. I hope I can inspire people.”
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