Darci Lynne Farmer won season 12 of America's Got Talent in 2017

By Karen Mizoguchi
February 11, 2019 10:00 PM

Though she was eliminated, the 14-year-old ventriloquist singer from Oklahoma was given a second chance Monday night as one of two wildcard contestants for the finals. (Magician and former NFL star Jon Dorenbos was also welcomed back.)

Farmer, who won season 12 of AGT in 2017, shocked the judges with her first-ever opera performance on the show. Simon Cowell even said, “It’s hard enough at your age to sing opera, but you’re doing it through a rabbit.”

The teen also brought back her beloved puppet Petunia to help her quest to be named the best in the world.

“I feel really lucky. Just to have a second chance at it, it’s awesome,” Farmer tells PEOPLE of her return, adding that when producers called her about being a wildcard she was “overcome with joy, I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ It was super duper exciting.”

Darci Lynne Farmer/Instagram

And opera was Farmer’s secret weapon for the finals. “I’ve done that a couple times before and thought it’s the best finale performance,” she says.

“Opera is definitely challenging. It’s probably one of the most impressive things I’ve done in my ventriloquism career,” Farmer shares. “I would love to do it more, it impresses and it’s fun to do.”

The star adds, “I definitely like to keep the audience on their toes and anticipating a surprise factor of my performance. Just to see their faces when I do my thing is awesome. I enjoy that part of it.”

Farmer also told viewers about her nerves from the Champions audition, which wasn’t enough to make it to the finals, losing the fan vote to Cristina Ramos.

“First round of AGT: The Champions was crazy. All of the butterflies from the very first audition just came back like 10 times worse,” she said.

“The chance of winning that title was gone. Then I got the call to be a wildcard. I am grateful to have another chance to win this competition but it’s also terrifying,” she said. “How may I going to come back and blow the roof off the place? I would definitely consider Petunia to be my lucky charm. She helped me get the Golden Buzzer and she helped me win season 12. She is a diva and she likes to win.”

But don’t call Farmer a diva.

“I wouldn’t call myself a diva. Petunia is more of that than I am,” Farmer tells PEOPLE. “I am very competitive [though].”

Though Farmer is competing against the best acts in the Got Talent franchise, Cowell later told her, “You deserve to be the world champion.”

America’s Got Talent: The Champions airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.