Bianca Ryan, a big-voiced 11-year-old schoolgirl from Philadelphia, was crowned the first $1 million winner on NBC’s America’s Got Talent Thursday night.
Teary-eyed and at a loss for words when the show’s host, Regis Philbin, called her name, Ryan – one of 10 finalists – admitted her shock to PEOPLE afterwards.
“I thought he was going to say ‘after the break,’ I didn’t know he was going to announce it right away,” she said.
Now, she is “trying to think about what I can do with all that money.” She’d first like to treat those close to her, especially her family, who have been behind her “150 percent this whole summer.”
Also lending their support have been the show’s judges, Piers Morgan, Brandy and David Hasselhoff.
The Hoff, who compared Bianca’s vocal chops to those of Liza Minnelli’s, was not surprised that Ryan took home the big prize. “The first time we heard Bianca on the show I thought well, we can go home now,” he told PEOPLE.
Brandy also “knew (Ryan) would be a favorite of America” and said that, with her voice, she could be “as big as Mariah Carey.”
Asked what she’s going to do next, Ryan responded: “Act!,” she says. “I want a show on the Disney Channel.”