‘America’s Got Talent’ nearing finale

Posted Sept. 25, 2008, at 8:17 p.m.

Although disrupted by the Olympics earlier this season, NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” is back on track and preparing for next month’s season finale. The final five gave the performances of their lives Wednesday night in hopes of winning the $1 million Las Vegas contract, and I’m prepared to share with you my No. 1 pick.

Although the judges (especially cranky Piers Morgan) have been crazy about Nuttin’ But Strings and I find them very entertaining, I don’t think I would be amused by them for more than a couple of songs.

Singer-piano player Eli Mattson, on the other hand, I could listen to for hours. My one wish is that he would have shared some of his original material during the show, but win or lose I’m sure we’ll be hearing more of him.

I also wish he would have been true to his previous performances during this week’s show and left the orchestra out of it. Mattson is much better when it’s just him and his piano on stage. The Hoff had it right when he said that the best thing about the 26-year-old Wisconsin native is that he’s real.

Let’s just hope that fame and fortune don’t change him.

My second-place pick is opera singer Neil E. Boyd. He’s got a voice that can sweep you away, but I’m not sure he’s what America wants in Vegas.

Next in line is Queen Emily, who truly looked like a queen Wednesday night, followed by Nuttin’ But Strings and singer Donald Braswell.

Donald’s not bad, but judge Sharon Osbourne hit the nail on the head when she said he belongs on Broadway.

Each of these contestants has overcome great odds to get where they are, and at a time when America is in turmoil, it’s nice to see that dreams still can come true and I’m sure they’ll all have great careers and much success from here on out.

Tune in to see if I got it right at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Speaking of tuning in, there’s plenty coming up to keep us occupied as we cuddle up with a blanket during these chilly fall nights.

“The Amazing Race” kicks off at 8 p.m. Sunday on CBS. It’s hard to believe this show already is in its 13th season and I’m still not a fan. The Man on the Couch, however, thinks we should audition for this one, but I think only one of us would end up coming home.

ABC also has new seasons of “Wife Swap” out a week from today at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 3, followed by “Supernanny” at 9 p.m.

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