"America's Got Talent" Season 11 Winner: Grace VanderWaal
Grace VanderWaal charmed all of America this season on “America’s Got Talent” (AGT). All season long, VanderWaal showed her exceptional talent as an overall performer. America answered back to VanderWaal’s amazing performances with the votes that crowned the 12-year-old singer, song-writer and ukuleleist the winner of season 11 on Wednesday’s live finale.
Nick Cannon returned for his eighth season as host, while Howie Mandel returned for his seventh season as a judge, Mel B and Heidi Klum returned for their fourth season as judges, while Simon Cowell replaced Howard Stern as the fourth judge on the panel. Each judge is given a golden buzzer, in which they can only press once. Pressing the golden buzzer gives a judge the ability to advance an act straight to the live shows.
VanderWaal was extremely thankful to have received Howie Mandel’s golden buzzer after a very impressive performance of an original song titled “I Don’t Know My Name” in her audition for this season of AGT. Prior to her audition, VanderWaal explained that her friends at school did not know that she sang or that she was even auditioning for AGT. When Cowell asked her if she believed that she could win this competition, VanderWaal humbly responded with, “Well I mean, miracles can happen. So, possibly,” and that is exactly what she did. Following her audition, Cowell also predicted that VanderWaal will be the next Taylor Swift. Her audition can be viewed below.
Given that she received a golden buzzer, VanderWaal advanced straight to the quarter-finals, where she again performed an original song titled “Beautiful Thing” which can be viewed here. During the semifinals, VanderWaal performed another original song titled “Light the Sky.” Click here to view the amazing performance. On finale night, VanderWaal noticeably gave her strongest performance of a fourth original song titled “Clay,” which lyrically gave awareness to bullying in schools. Her finale performance can be viewed here.
VanderWaal received a standing ovation after every performance she gave this season on AGT as she won over the hearts of America. As the winner, she received a $1-million-dollar grand prize and a headlining show in Las Vegas.
Her plans for the money? Young VanderWaal plans to donate to a music charity and in an interview with ET following the finale, she stated, “I want to go on [Animal Planet’s] ‘Treehouse Masters’ and get a sick treehouse – zip lines, bridges, everything.” With her remarkable talent and adorable charm, it is easy to forget she is just 12 years old, but this is just the start of a very promising career for this young talent.