She was the last of 12 acts to perform on "America's Got Talent" Tuesday night but it was always going to be that way; it was the performance everyone was waiting for.
Standing on stage with her ukulele in hand, Suffern's own Grace VanderWaal sang another original song, “Beautiful Thing,” about her older sister, Olivia. It was the first time VanderWaal appeared on the show since June when she became an internet sensation and was labeled “the next Taylor Swift” by judge Simon Cowell.
Before her performance a short video was aired of VanderWaal, walking the halls of Suffern Middle School and receiving support from her peers and faculty. During the segment VanderWaal opened up about her songs, how she has been writing them for a long time but it wasn't until this year that she began to share them.
“I still feel like I’m about to wake up from this crazy dream,” she said during the segment.
After her performance on Tuesday night VanderWaal received a standing ovation from the audience and the judges—and perhaps plenty of people watching from home.
“You know, some of the stuff you were playing, maybe the notes are wrong. Your voice is a little bit croaky at times. But that is what makes you perfect,” Cowell said.
Cowell continued that these shows are about unearthing people with potential who can forge a career in the real world before adding everyone was waiting for her to perform.
“I am going to predict we’re all going to remember the moment in years to come when we saw Grace sing live for the first time.”
Judges Heidi Klum and Mel B lavished praise on VanderWaal with Mel B describing her voice as distinct and one that people remember.
Howie Mandel, who gave her the golden buzzer, then predicted VanderWaal would ultimately be bigger than Taylor Swift and would become the biggest star to come out of AGT.
“All the biggest people in the business ask me about you each and every day. You are a superstar,” Mandel said.
“I am going to predict we’re all going to remember the moment in years to come when we saw Grace sing live for the first time," Mandel said, predicting VanderWaal would be "the biggest star ever to come from 'America's Got Talent.'"
Tuesday was the last live show and last chance for contestants to progress to the semi finals of the competition. Progression is based on votes from those watching the show.
The 12-year old starlet had competition in the music category.
Musical acts like family trio Edgar and solo artist Brian Justin Crum, as well as 62-year old singer Ronee Martin who belted out “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers, were well received by the judges and the audience.
Voting ends at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning. Up to 10 votes can be cast for each contestant. The results show will air Wednesday night at 9 p.m. on NBC. To vote, call 866-602-4812
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