Junior Eurovision alum Daneliya Tuleshova‘s journey towards a possible America’s Got Talent title was built on positivity. From week to week, the judges showered her with glowing reviews and her legions of fans praised everything from her vocals to her unconventional song choices, eye-catching fashion choices, and relatable personality. Everything seemed to be lining up for her to have an amazing, potentially life-changing result.

Unfortunately, the road to the title hit an unexpected snag close to the finish line, as the Kazakh songbird was surprisingly cut from the field during the finale’s initial round of voting reveals on Wednesday night.

The evening started off with a one-hour recap show where the judges and contestants each reflected on their respective journeys from the auditions, through each competition stage, and ending with the live finals Tuesday night. Following that stroll down memory lane, it was time for the finale to get started. Most of the contestants were given an opportunity to let their hair down and perform with another well-known recording artist or past AGT act. Daneliya herself performed a duet with American singing star Ava Max on Ava’s song “Kings and Queens” (the fifth single off of Ava’s debut studio album Heaven and Hell, released on September 18th).

With staging that looked like they were deep inside a DNA strand, Daneliya gave an arguably even better performance than on finals night. The cool style of the song was a natural fit for her, and she and Ava blended their voices as if they had been singing together for years. Even Daneliya’s hip glittery dress seemed to give the performance added lift. Just after the song ended, Ava herself was dishing out compliments, saying, “This girl has a KILLER voice! Watch out world!” (Talk about validation!)

After the guest performances wrapped up (and the finale SERIOUSLY bogged down in tempo, thanks to some corny and unneeded filler segments with host Terry Crews and judges Sofia Vergara, Howie Mandel, and Heidi Klum), it was finally time to find out who advanced to the top five:

After aerialist Alan Silva grabbed the first spot in the grand final over Italian acrobatic trio, the Bello Sisters, it was time for the second pairing to be announced. Cristina Rae, a 30-year old singer from Nashville, Tennessee was announced first, and stepped forward. Then, to most fans’ shock and disappointment, Daneliya was announced next, meaning that one fan favourite was unexpectedly going to be up for an earlier than anticipated elimination.

You could hear some of the shock in the audience reaction, and read the confusion in Daneliya’s face, as she seemed to know what the result would be. Seconds later, the result was announced — Cristina was through, and Daneliya’s hopes were dashed.

Through some haphazard camera work (both with far away shots and too much motion), fans of Daneliya weren’t even provided a proper goodbye, as she seemed to just instantly disappear from the stage as the host and judges basked in the happiness of Rae’s advancement to the final five. Minutes later, Canadian pre-teen singer Roberta Battaglia (even younger than Daneliya at 11), Chicago country guitar/singing duo Broken Roots, and Californian spoken word artist Brandon Leake completed the acts making it into the top five. After one more round of cuts eventually cut the top five to a top three (with Rae, Leake, and Broken Roots advancing yet again), spoken word artist Brandon Leake was eventually crowned the winner of America’s Got Talent‘s fifteenth season.

It didn’t take long for a social media storm to whip up, as fans debated various theories about what happened with the vote (everything from blatant nationalism, to judges’ tone-deafness to talent, to producers outright cheating the vote, to the six singers in the final possibly diluting their fan base for any one of them to the point other acts were able to take advantage).

It is well known that in the 15 seasons of AGT, there has really only been ONE true non-American winner (that being British ventriloquist Paul Zerdin, in 2016’s season ten), so perhaps hoping that Daneliya could create a big enough fan base to buck this trend was too much to ask? (Even with her previous exposure to American audiences on the one season 2018 talent contest The World’s Best, that one would have thought might set her up well for success)? Fans are left wondering for now…

To her credit, Daneliya seems to have chosen to take the high road. Taking to her Instagram account (@tuleshova_daneliya) just a couple of hours after the result was revealed, Daneliya issued a personal message to John Piermarini, a senior casting producer on the America’s Got Talent staff. She thanked him for making the AGT journey happen for her, and for all his support and kind words:

Now that’s how to change a stinging disappointment into a positive! No doubt this ability to enjoy and appreciate the journey, rather than focus solely on the results, will help Daneliya slay whatever goals she sets for herself and conquer any challenges that pop up in her life from here on out. We say well done to the Kazakh queen!

Are you proud of Daneliya’s journey on America’s Got Talent? Do you think she should continue to expand her horizons beyond her homeland? What do you hope is next for her? Let us know in the comments below!

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Crystal
Crystal
24 days ago

“OMG people… Christina Rae is the obvious winner here…”
And yes I am disappointed everyone did great… just to be brave enough to get up on stage and share their unique and talented gifts makes them all winners!!!

Tori
Tori
24 days ago

I don’t understand the results at all really. I don’t think Daneliya should’ve won. She was fine just not my favorite. I think Christina Rae should’ve won but that is just my opinion. I personally thought the poet was going to get 10th to be honest I was pretty bored during his performance. It was okay but not a million dollar winner for sure.

Florence Orange
Florence Orange
24 days ago

Yes

helen E storey carrasco
helen E storey carrasco
24 days ago

This year really seemed fixed. I think Christina Rea was a remarkable singer! Much better than Broken Roots. Daneliya was amazing as well! Archie ‘s very sad story is what kept him in. He was good for his age, but not near as talented as some that were eliminated. So basically he held a spot not based on talent, which is not fare to the other contestants. Brandon Leake was not the best talent. He did something different. And is a great poet but not as amazing as some of the other contestants. He is not a Las Vegas headliner… Read more »

Brenda
Brenda
24 days ago

Y’all got to remember that even being in the top 10 on this show jump starts a career. I voted, I didn’t vote for her, but I have full confidence she’ll be out there in the forefront in the future.

Casey Williams
Casey Williams
24 days ago

Honestly there shouldn’t be any singers on agt there’s so many other shows out there for them to preform this girl everyone is talking about I’m sorry she was never my favorite she has so many years and her voice will change. Brandon leake killed it and so did bad salsa they were amazing.

Ron B
Ron B
24 days ago

I am very very disappointed AGT who won.. I will not every go to the winners show it was boring to hear him talk.
My opinion is the was fixed.
Daneliya. or Roberta should have been the winner hands down..
I will not be watching AGT for awhile or any other talent shows because they have also been fixed.

Shatina Fields
Shatina Fields
25 days ago

I’m confused as to how the areialist made it to the top 5 and she didn’t. She very well should continue her journey. She is an excellent vocalist and performer and will go very far in this industry with the right ppl in her corner

Last edited 25 days ago by Shatina Fields
Marie Duyvejonck
Marie Duyvejonck
25 days ago

Totally did not agree with the top “talent”…….would never go see a poet in Vegas…..much better talent….will not be watching again

Evy
Evy
25 days ago

It’s outrageous to see a show that don’t know how to pick a good talent Daneliya should have won . I will never see agt again very disappointing.i was shocked when they announced the winner..

Crystal
Crystal
24 days ago
Reply to  Evy

She already has a huge future ahead of her… honestly for me toss up between Archie and Christina

Dana
Dana
25 days ago

I think Broken Roots had a better chance for a great headliner. There were a lot of great singers. I do hope Broken Roots make it and we can hear their music on the radio.

Tammy Wilson
Tammy Wilson
26 days ago

One other comment…to all of those who said Daneliya is young, so she has time to become a star, remember none of us know if we will be here tomorrow. I truly hope she does have a very long, happy life, but it’s not guaranteed.

Tammy Wilson
Tammy Wilson
26 days ago

I agree with many of the comments on here. First, I wish there wasn’t so many (or any) singers on the show since there are so many singing shows. Second, I can’t imagine a very large or consistent crowd going to see a poet in Vegas with all of the other amazing acts there. Third, if the show is called AGT, then it should be only those living in America. Fourth, the back stories need to go. Every year a better talent is sent home so the ones with the bigger back story can stay on. A perfect example is… Read more »

Barbara Modena
Barbara Modena
26 days ago

Leaks put the spoken word on the map. Good for him. We need change in wherever he goes. AGT. Saw that and others did too

Steven Deiter
25 days ago
Reply to  Barbara Modena

Not a vegas act what’s the point?

Carole Panico
Carole Panico
25 days ago
Reply to  Steven Deiter

That’s for Vegas to decide.

Casey Williams
Casey Williams
24 days ago
Reply to  Steven Deiter

I would see that in Vegas better then the blue man group

tammy buhrow
tammy buhrow
26 days ago

I think family’s should have won top prize for AGT. I think that the judges were feuding regarding each of their golden buzzer contestant so the producers didn’t want Heidi and Sophia to get their panties bunched up so they gave it to howie’s golden buzzer contestant which was the first time for a spoken word entertainer to win. I just don’t see that as a headliner in Vegas. I love the poetry from leaks but it’s not a headliner! This show has been getting more political on who wins the big prize. I think AGT needs to get back… Read more »

Deedee
Deedee
26 days ago

I think Daneliya was an excellent Singer, but so were Many others. I don’t think that she should have WON though. She is young and has plenty of years ahead of her. I really do believe that an American should Win. However, I was surprised that Broken Roots was second. All of the other Singers, I feel were much better than them. I was shocked that Mr. Leakes won, but I’m glad he did.

Ernie Lara
Ernie Lara
26 days ago

They made kodi lee a winner, symphaty voted him to stardom.

QueenDEEdeeDee
QueenDEEdeeDee
25 days ago
Reply to  Ernie Lara

But kodi lee was an amazing dinner as well!!

Samara
Samara
25 days ago
Reply to  Ernie Lara

Kodi Lee Is Brilliant And Rightfully Won Though

Thomas Colangelo
Thomas Colangelo
26 days ago

She simply was not the best. I was led to see a different talent “genre” win

Nick Thornton
Nick Thornton
27 days ago

Never watching AGT again. Broken roots (who suck btw) came in 2nd but Daneliya was eliminated early on!!!. Fork that. AGT is totally rigged

Don Derickson
Don Derickson
27 days ago

I believe Daneliya should have won, but I have been following her since I happened upon her when she won Talent Ukraine and find myself to be totally biased . Daneliya is a very rare and special young woman, that actually puts others ahead of herself. But one thing , that personally I would like to know is if anyone besides myself and my gf were only able to vote on the AGT app, and not NBC.com for the finale, we were not allowed to sign in, the message ” use valid e-mail” was the response. We had no problems… Read more »

Debbie
Debbie
25 days ago
Reply to  Don Derickson

I had no problems voting the last night of voting, on the AGT app. Also, I was a Leake fan. I do think however that Danelilya was ( is) a terrific singer and since she is young she still has her voice to change and has plenty of years ahead of her.

Sharon Ness
Sharon Ness
27 days ago

Sadly this article makes her sound like a poor lover. I don’t think she’s that kind of girl. Yeah she sings well but i didn’t think the best. Too many singers this season. I was pleased eith the results of an interpretive speaker. He had some great thought provoking dialogue. Something new and different. Dane)ya will do well. She’s been seen and heard she has a good chance.

Moon at Noon
Moon at Noon
27 days ago

Grace Vanderwaal won in 2016.

Moon at Noon
Moon at Noon
27 days ago
Reply to  Moon at Noon

Not Zerdin

Philip Bruno
Philip Bruno
28 days ago

Once again an absolute joke that an act that got cut Broken Roots finished second overall ahead of all the other singers, Kenady was better than they were let alone Daniellya, I think this was rigged for the poet because of the times , although his poems were heartfelt it is nothing I would pay to see. Daniella I felt was the best, she is a lot like Angelina in that she puts true emotion in her songs.

QueenDEEdeeDee
QueenDEEdeeDee
25 days ago
Reply to  Philip Bruno

“Because of the times??” It’s not an singers show. Although I really liked her a lot…. Brandon rightfully won because his words were amazing and all the spoken word artists around voted for him

Philip Corey
28 days ago

She should come up with 3 original songs & 3 great covers & try to get signed to a great label like republic or atlantic winning these contests seems to work against having a label promote you No Voice winner ever made it big

Mikey
Mikey
28 days ago

I’m very proud of Daneliya of course. She should be proud of herself for getting that far. I was rooting for her and Roberta. I always root for whom I believe will actually be around for many years to come. I hope Howie is happy cause his golden buzzard won it all but I was shocked that Mr Leake was even in the competition. I cannot picture anyone say to themselves “oh hey let’s go to Vegas and see some exciting show… oh how about some guy speak some spoken words?” Howie should go see Mr Leaks show… at least… Read more »

Landy Decaussin
Landy Decaussin
28 days ago

She should’ve won, and I firmly believe it’s the judges comments during the finale…they raved about their golden buzzers, and showered them as the best! I believe that america listens to those comments and takes them serious why I feel judges should remain neutral during the finale, may say what they like before finals, but during finals, they shouldn’t say their buzzers should win. Clearly she was the heat voice, beat polished, and should’ve won! The judges comments is what failed her!

Steve
Steve
26 days ago

Super false

David Lopez
David Lopez
28 days ago

Hey member wen them dumb dogs won it all… I mean come on REALLY

Joel Sanchez-Corona
Joel Sanchez-Corona
28 days ago

She should have won, at minimum be there at the end another wasted talent , I’m done with AGT

LeAnn Emerson
LeAnn Emerson
28 days ago

She deserves a recording contract, in my opinion she should’ve won as she blew all the other singers out of the water!

Ju Ju
Ju Ju
28 days ago

So tired of singers on AGT they need to be on American Idol so they can compete with other Singers instead of against others who display Talents some of which America has never seen before

tammy buhrow
tammy buhrow
26 days ago
Reply to  Ju Ju

Go on the Voice or American Idol

Lou Viljoen
Lou Viljoen
28 days ago

Daneliya, you have done your self, your family and your counntry proud. An I am proud of you. But don’t feel too bad. See what happened to Courtney Hadwin when she was pushed aside just like you. She is now a superstar and bigger than the winner of that AGT where she was shoved aside. She is a superstar and so are you.

Matt
Matt
29 days ago

Agt is a joke… Look at the back story of the top; two bullied, one homeless, and one family tragedy + the current US social climate…. Daneliya consistantly talked about love for her family (no drama / no feel sorry for me). I personally would not pay to see any of the top five, but Daneliya absolutely. She is a natural performer and had different style with all her songs and a gift for a singing voice. Having just a big voice doesn’t not make you a great singer and Broken Roots finishing second; c’mon you hear better than that… Read more »

Michael Scott
Michael Scott
26 days ago
Reply to  Matt

Well said!
Felt like “America’s Got Drama queens (and king) and “victims”.
No on but Brandon was going to win this season, no one.

YouAreSoGreat
YouAreSoGreat
29 days ago

Daneliya, you stood there when the result was revealed, as always, but this time it was different. I felt something is going wrong and I could see it in your soul, that you knew that this time it’s gonna be a different result. Daneliya, you are still a star. You sing so heart-touching. I hope to hear many many more songs from you. When you sing, you express your true and honest feelings throughout the song. And that is what makes you unique and very special. You are the real winner in so many hearts. I can’t speak for the… Read more »

Crystal
29 days ago

What about Kenichi Ebina? He was from Japan, if I remember correctly, and he won the show as well.

James Dorsey
James Dorsey
29 days ago
Reply to  Josh Kennon

Josh:
Nice job in the article.
in other news, it appears that they don’t make their own song choices. Daneliya reported having only a few days to prep for “Alive”. There is a long list of rules. As a big Daneliya, my conclusion is that this was not the best venue for her. The results confirm it.

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/entertainment/g32945049/americas-got-talent-contestant-rules/

Esc addict
Esc addict
29 days ago

The results are the results, but in that final there was too many singers, for me Cristina Rae was the best of them, Daneliya is young she has still the time.

Last edited 29 days ago by Esc addict
chris falvey
chris falvey
29 days ago

when we’re to believe a poet earned more votes than any of the others, i’m sorry, but it’s a scam….i had Daneliya or Rae….

chris falvey
chris falvey
29 days ago
Reply to  chris falvey

Rae, Daneliya and Roberta were cancelling each other out….but really, a poet is a small market…how can we find out the votes? Look at you tube and how many watch these people.

Jon
Jon
27 days ago
Reply to  chris falvey

To be fair a lot of the views on YouTube for Daneliya were not from the USA. She had many fans from her home country and around the world, but those fans were unable to vote so they didn’t directly translate into votes unfortunately. She would have won by a landslide otherwise.

Steve
Steve
26 days ago
Reply to  chris falvey

You sound salty and ignorant, must be American. That poet was unbelievable and way too many singers.

Andreu
Andreu
29 days ago

The results were just disastrous. Broken Roots above Daneliya, Roberta, and Cristina. What is this madness. Bad Salsa out of the top 5. The poet was good but who would pay money to watch his shows when you have plenty other more entertaining shows at Las Vegas.

Jonas
Jonas
29 days ago

America’s Got Talent is trash. I will never watch it again after the way they treated Gabrielle Union.

Laurie
Laurie
28 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

She was a lousy judge, look at the difference between her and Sophia, she is so much more comfortable, I had to mute tv when union was talking????, it’s not about race, it just wasn’t her thing

Mason Brown
Mason Brown
28 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

At least people did vote or her and she still did not make the top 5. On AGT Champions Angelina Jordan came in 6th also, but her fans were not allowed to vote for her at all. She received 79% of the Golden Buzzer vote, a standing ovation, and yet did not make the top 5??

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
29 days ago

I don’t know if I’d call it a disappointment. It’s America’s Got Talent. The standard is really high and she’s not even US-based so a public vote was always going to be difficult against homegrown performers with a similar talent. I don’t know to what extent it would’ve been possible singing Sia songs to be honest. I think she did as well as possible and should be really proud, not disappointed!

Carla
Carla
28 days ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

She was much better than the US-based performers. The only reason she didn’t win was because of nationalism. Thats why I don’t like this type of contests. People win for the wrong reasons and not because of their talent.

Steve
Steve
26 days ago
Reply to  Carla

Dumbest thing I’ve read all day.

Eric Boivin
Eric Boivin
25 days ago
Reply to  Carla

Carla tu as raison

First row at ESC and JESC
First row at ESC and JESC
29 days ago

I didn’t say that she has to win AGT – but with her flawless performances (and she kicked out 2 “golden buzzers”, she should really deserve to be in the TOP 5 of AGT. America wants to be part of Eurovision? Forget it! Eurovision- and Junior ESC fans will never forget that injustice (love or hate me for my opinion – it is ok for me)

Rifki
Rifki
29 days ago

“He hasn’t seen at all
That you are beautiful
I’m breaking down the wall
And you’re a star
But now I’m about to fall
Because you are
’cause you are beautiful, beautiful, babe”
.
CONSOLATION prize, right?

stommie
stommie
29 days ago

It is well known that in the fifteen seasons of AGT, there has really only been ONE true non-American winner”

I don’t know, isn’t the idea of America Got Talent to find an American artist (at least that is what the title of the show seems to suggest)? I remember how Glennis Grace was in AGT a few years ago where she was presented to the public as a housewife and mother whose hobby it was to sing.

Rifki
Rifki
29 days ago
Reply to  stommie

when the new decade arrived (2010-2011), they seemed to deviate themselves from the actual concept of finding new ‘American’ talents. I remember seeing an East Asian magician winning, and even an Indonesian magician/mentalist tried to audition once.

Last edited 29 days ago by Rifki
Joe
Joe
29 days ago
Reply to  stommie

Yeah, I was gonna say. We pride ourselves on having people here from all over the world, but Daneliya isn’t even US-based.

stommie
stommie
29 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Nor was Glennis Grace. The woman is a professional singer for decades and yet she was presented to the American public as a sobbing story of a mother whose big dream it was to sing.

edit: wiwi even wrote about it
https://wiwibloggs.com/2018/09/18/netherlands-dutch-comedy-show-glennis-grace-agt/227123/

Last edited 29 days ago by stommie
AEf
AEf
29 days ago
Reply to  stommie

Had she presented herself as a professional singer then the American people, and likely judges, would’ve booted her off immediately wondering why a professional singer would be in there in the first place.

stommie
stommie
29 days ago
Reply to  AEf

As if those judges, and especially Simon Cowell, don’t know what is going on. The contestants are recruited and don’t decide for themselves was their backstory is. It is all carefully crafted by the AGT team.

Lanny Holdaway
Lanny Holdaway
29 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Daneliya, you are young and have plenty of time to be a bigger star than you are now. Enjoy growing up. There will be plenty of time to be an adult later. Your attitude and talent is second to none. l love every song I have heard you sing.

Crystal
29 days ago
Reply to  stommie

It’s something we’ve seen across Simon Cowell’s formats. I mean, how did Saara Aalto end up on the British version of The X Factor, even though she’s from Finland?

James
James
28 days ago
Reply to  Crystal

Casting producers invite people from overseas to try out so they bypass the initial audition process prior to confronting the judges.