Grace Vanderwaal has officially stolen America’s heart.
The 12-year-old ukulele player, who had the honor of being the closing act, wowed everyone with a performance of her original song “Clay” on night one of the America’s Got Talent finale Tuesday.
“Amazing Grace. How sweet the sound,” said Mandel, who chose her as his golden buzzer contestant. “It’s not only a song. It speaks to you. You are amazing. Grace has to win. This is my favorite moment of the night.”
Throughout the competition, Vanderwaal – who Cowell dubbed as “the next Taylor Swift” – has stayed true to herself by singing only original tracks.
For her audition in June, she performed “I Don’t Know My Name,” and sang her own song, “Beautiful Thing,” when she advanced straight to the quarterfinals. Then for the semifinals, VanderWaal belted out original song, “Light The Sky.”
The youngest finalist has received several compliments during the 25-episode run but Cowell’s finale comment may have been the best.
In a “few years’ time, people are going to look back at you [and say] you did it in a real way. No gimmicks. It was just you.” he said, adding, “You deserve your place tonight. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but you’re going to be there at the end. I can feel it.”
The winner of AGT will not only win the $1 million grand prize, but he/she will also perform at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Oct. 27-29.
Season 11 live finale results will air Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.