12-year-old wins “America’s Got Talent”


Lauren Howell

One of Vista’s ukuleles

Madi Feenstra, Staff Writer

On Sept. 14, 2016, the twelve-year-old Grace Vanderwaal had tears of joy in her eyes when her name was announced as the winner of 11th season of “America’s Got Talent”.

Grace, an American from Suffern, New York, soloed a spectacular song she wrote herself on the nationally-involved talent show. Some admired that the tone of her singing was gracefully raspy and beautiful. She accompanied her vocal talent by playing the ukulele that made her performance the popular folksy tone that is heard with a lot of artists lately, including the group “Of Monsters Of Men.”

After Vanderwaal’s song came to a close, the crowd applauded. Not long after she finished, the judge Howie Mandel slapped the “golden buzzer”, which means that the performer did a spectacular job.

To do such an amazing job at her age was startling. “Anyone can play anything,” Jayden Grgich, a freshman at Vista del Lago, she said. “It’s more about dedication and not about age. It’s about skills and how hard you work.”

Other students had similar opinions. “It’s giving more opportunity to younger crowds to kinda… come up.” said junior Blake Lopez-DuBois “[There are] younger people trying to get into the industry because music is music.” He also noted, “I guess that means that if I wanted to make it now, I could if I wanted to.”

The television show rewarded the young singer-songwriter a whopping one million dollars, for her stunning recital of her original song “I Don’t Know My Name.”

CNN News explains that the performance was so breathtaking that the judge Simon Cowell, who is notorious for harshly judging contestants on their acts, even commented that Grace Vanderwaal could be the “new Taylor Swift.” She was very flattered, considering Taylor Swift is the fourth most popular Hollywood singer of 2016 according to The Mesh News.

According to USA Today, the pop singer found Grace’s performance noteworthy, and gifted the twelve-year-old a bouquet of flowers.

Her response to Swift’s generosity was expressed in a video that she posted on Twitter, along with the comment, “Words can not explain how honored I am for this,” she said. “Thank. You. SOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!”

A few other popular celebrities personally congratulated Vanderwaal on Twitter, such as Jason Mraz, Henry Winkler, Reese Witherspoon, Ellen DeGeneres, and even Katy Perry who  tweeted an inspirational message: “@GraceVanderWaal Congrats! You have it. Protect it and keep playing and writing…it will always serve you”.

“It’s becoming less about who you know and where you come from and more about what you are capable of doing and what people actually want to hear.” Lisa Day, a former auxiliary percussionist, said.

Grace Vanderwaal is an inspiration to all with her outstanding ukulele talent and singing voice. She really proved that age doesn’t have to be a limit to quality music and making it in the music industry.