Sep. 12, 2012 at 9:38 AM ET
It's finals time on "America's Got Talent," and that means soon one of the remaining six acts will take top honors. But which one? Judge Howie Mandel stopped by TODAY Wednesday and named his personal favorite, as well as the performers he sees as the likely winners.
"I think William Close, the guy who plays the Earth Harp, is the guy I'd put my money on if I had to invest," he said before adding, "(but) I don't think the audience is going to (pick him)."
It's down to two other acts, according to Mandel.
"I think the audience is either going to go for the (Olate Dogs) or Tom Cotter, because it's easier for them to connect with a human being or a cute dog," he wagered. "I just sense that that's how America is going."
As for where he gets that sense, he owes it all to his Twitter account.
"Last week, The Untouchables, which was the little girl group -- phenomenal dancers -- when she broke down crying at the end, I was looking at my Twitter, and 'Oh, my God! Oh, my God! I've got to vote for this little girl.' I saw the sentiment change," Mandel explained. "So I'm thinking it'll be Tom Cotter, because he makes people laugh or the adorable little dogs, because everybody loves dogs."
So that's how he knows so much about who might win. But does Mandel know who will stay and who will go on the judges' panel once the season wraps? He knows he's staying, but as for the buzz about fellow judge Sharon Osbourne, well....
"I don't know," he admitted. "I've heard what you've heard. I hope she'd come back."
And Howard Stern?
"He hasn't made a decision yet."
So while "Got Talent" fans will soon know the new winner, it could be some time before they know how next season's panel will shape up.
The final six "America's Got Talent" acts perform on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. on NBC. On Thursday night, the winner of season seven will be revealed.
Which act are you rooting for in the finals? Tell us your pick on our Facebook page.
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