It’s not every day that you come across a 12-year-old singer-songwriter with the talent and confidence to win one of television’s most competitive shows. However, Grace VanderWaal did just that on Season 11 of America’s Got Talent. VanderWaal first wowed the audience and judges with a stunning performance of her original song “I Don’t Know My Name.”

Howie Mandel was so taken with VanderWaal’s audition that he bestowed the coveted Golden Buzzer upon her.

VanderWaal also gave AGT the push it needed to become “cool,” according to fellow Judge Simon Cowell.

“When I joined the show in 2016, I prayed we’d find a great singer, and that’s when we met Grace,” Cowell told AGT Host Terry Crews as the duo reflected on their favorite Golden Buzzer moments.

Although Cowell admitted he was skeptical when VanderWaal revealed she would be performing an original song, he believes it was the original song that set her Audition apart.

“One of the reasons this Audition became such a monster was because she didn’t sing a cover, she sang her own song,” Cowell explained. “And you know, she’s a brilliant songwriter—a great songwriter.” Because she was so cool, I’d say this is when AGT became cool.”

The audience was immediately enthralled by VanderWaal’s audition. “I don’t think she was expecting that reaction,” Cowell said as he watched the audition. “I know, look at her face,” Crews agreed, smiling.

VanderWaal has maintained her career momentum in the six years since her Season 11 victory. She not only signed with the prestigious IMG models, but she also released her first album, Just the Beginning, as well as a number of EPs.

By Mariam