America’s Got Talent: The Season 3 Showdown Begins

09/24/2008 at 12:00 AM EDT

America’s Got Talent: The Season 3 Showdown Begins
Trae Patton/NBC (2)




Tonight’s the night for America’s Got Talent’s five remaining contestants. All five will perform live one last time in an effort to win the NBC talent show’s $1 million prize and the chance to headline in Las Vegas.

“Any one of them can win,” AGT judge Piers Morgan tells PEOPLE, running through the top five lineup. “You’ve got Donald Braswell (pictured), the comeback kid… And then you’ve got Neal E. Boyd, an insurance salesman who sings like Pavarotti. There’s Queen Emily (pictured), too old for Idol and it’s just as well because she’d win it. Eli Mattson is a brilliant pianist and singer and then we’ve got Nuttin But Stringz, the most electrifying act I’ve seen in three seasons on the show.”



The contestants tell PEOPLE they are as ready as they can possibly be for their big night. “It’s going to go far beyond just singing beautifully. It’s going to be something that will convince America I can stand alone on a stage in Vegas,” Braswell says.

“When we hit the stage it’s all about passion and emotion,” Nuttin But Stringz violinist Damien Escobar says. “People will feel it.”

“We’re all so diverse, the top five. I never thought I’d get into the music business through TV,” says Mattson, who plans to do a more upbeat tune for his final performance.

“I think the audience is looking for a return of the opera and I’m going to bring it in a big way. That’s the only way I know how to bring it,” Boyd says.

The season’s lone female finalist, Queen Emily, says she, too, will bring it in a big way. And she hopes she’s got the ladies on her side.

“I’m hoping every woman in America is going to vote for me,” the single mom says, grateful that “from this point on, no matter what, my life will never be the same.”

“Because of last year’s winner, it’s so huge to win our show,” AGT judge Sharon Osbourne says, referring to season two champ Terry Fator, who signed a $100 million contract at The Mirage Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. “Terry set the bar high.”

AGT airs live Wednesday night on NBC at 9 p.m. ET. Viewers will have two hours after the telecast to vote for their favorite performer. The season three winner will then be announced on the October 1 season finale. --Monica Rizzo

Tell us: Who do you think will win this season's AGT?

Trae Patton/NBC (2)



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