VanderWaal, who was crowned the season 11 winner at the age of 12, returned to the same stage where she won a million dollar prize and headlining show in Las Vegas in September.
The musician, now 13, performed her song “Moonlight,” which was well-received by both audiences and the judges — Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel — who cheered loudly and gave her a standing ovation.
“It’s great to be here!” a smiling VanderWaal, who is going on tour, told the crowd.
“It’s living proof that this show changes lives,” said host Tyra Banks.
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Ahead of the episode, VanderWaal expressed her excitement about her return to the competition series. “Tonight’s the night! So excited to be back here at @AGT Make sure to watch my performance of #Moonlight at 8/7c on @NBC!” she tweeted.
During the show last year, VanderWaal performed her viral audition song “I Don’t Know My Name” to a packed audience, including special guest Stevie Nicks, who she got to later introduce before the Fleetwood Mac band member performed “Landslide.”
VanderWaal’s golden buzzer coach Mandel gushed about the singer after she won in a series of tweets that read: “@GraceVanderWaal MY GOLDEN BUZZER WON!”
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.