Let’s just get this out of the way right now: Grace VanderWaal will be the next winner of AMERICA’S GOT TALENT.
She will go head-to-head in the September finale with a high production act, perhaps even the drone-dance combo, Elevenplay.
But when the votes are counted, the 12 year-old New Yorker will be standing center stage with her ukulele and a check for $1 million.
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Grace made her AGT debut on Tuesday evening performing an original song called, “I Don’t Know My Name.”
She quickly emerged as the act to beat.
“I think you are the next Taylor Swift,” judge Simon Cowell declared.
And he may very well correct. It will just take a few years of polishing and marketing.
Grace is the second tween-age girl to pass directly through to the live performance shows.
Last week, middle school opera prodigy Laura Bretan stole the show and earned a golden buzzer from judge Mel B.
But we have seen her act before when Jackie Evancho came up just short in season five.
Grace is equal parts quirky and original and will likely be much more relatable to the show’s core voters (teenage girls).
She’s not the type of singer that will blow audiences away with powerful vocal acrobatics.
Instead, she makes her connection through lyrics and emotion.
“This is a show about surprises,” judge Howie Mandel said. “I think you are a living, beautiful, walking miracle. Your original song about people not knowing your name is so right and so wrong because I think the world is going to know your name.”
Here’s the bottom line: Grace is a superstar in the making and Simon knows it.
As executive producer of the show and head of his own record label, Simon stands to profit immensely from the success of any musical act that emerges on AGT.
He has already said that finding a marketable singer was a priority and he won’t let girl come up short.
Over the next three months, we are going to see Grace ditch the navy blue prep school sweater and bright yellow stretch pants. Heck, she may even lose the bangs.
Shows like AGT are all about the extreme artist makeover.
By August, don’t be surprised if she is playing a full sized guitar and accompanied by a whole band.
The girl we are seeing now is merely a caterpillar about to be transformed into an even more amazing and marketable butterfly.
AMERICA’S GOT TALENT airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM on NBC.
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