Only a one in four chance that America’s Got Talent will end with a mediocre singer winning

America’s Got Talent revealed its top four last night, and the show could be on the verge of ending its streak of selecting mediocre singers instead of Las Vegas-worth headlining acts, which has been the case every season except season two, which was won by singing ventriloquist Terry Fator, who went on to considerable success.

But be prepared for disappointment. Last year we had two highly original acts in the finals, and the winner was the lame singer.

The finalists this season are Silhouettes, who position themselves so their shadows form recognizable shapes; Poplyfe, a band whose members are teenagers; Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., a singer with an over-inflated sense of his talent; and Team iLuminate, which is the most original in-the-dark act since last year’s Fighting Gravity. (To be fair, they are somewhat different, as Team iLuminate uses computer-generated lighting combined with dance, but the end result is very similar.)

Magician Landon Swank seemed like a lock to be in the finals, perhaps instead of Poplyfe, but pretty much blew it with a weak performance that was less visual and less spectacular than his previous performances, and that was probably ruined by a fish hiding from the camera.

As Howie Mandel said of Team iLuminate on Tuesday night, “We are voting for a headlining, live act” and it is “one of the best acts you could possibly see live.” Here’s what they did Tuesday:

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.