Grace Vanderwaal has just been named the winner of “America’s Got Talent” Season 11.
According to People, the 12-year-old Suffern native was in the final two with mentalists The Clairvoyants. After host Nick Cannon announced that Vanderwaal has won $1 million and a headline show in Las Vegas, the “I Don’t Know My Name” singer fell down on her knees and cried. Judge Howie Mandel, who gave Vanderwaal his golden buzzer this season, rushed to congratulate the singer/composer on stage. Mandel also hugged and kissed Vanderwaal who was in total shock.
Cannon had the chance to interview Vanderwaal for a bit and asked, “How does it feel? These are tears of joy, right?” She replied, “Yes, of course.” Mandel also gave Vanderwaal some positive words and said, “You said that every person is a shining star… you are a shooting star. You are on your way. I love you. You are so special.” Vanderwaal replied, “Thank you.”
The young talent’s successful run in “America’s Got Talent” started when she auditioned for the hit NBC reality TV show earlier this year. During that time, she performed the original song “I Don’t Know My Name.” A few weeks later, Vanderwaal returned for the quarterfinals where she sang a song that she composed for her older sister. “Beautiful Thing” was another big hit among her fans. In the semifinals, Vanderwaal performed the inspirational song “Light Up The Sky.” In the finale, she sang her original song “Clay.”
Meanwhile, ahead of Cannon’s announcement, guest performer Stevie Knicks praised Vanderwaal for her artistry and talent, according to Billboard. “I have been watching this show from the beginning, I have to say she reminds me a lot of me in a lot of ways. We sing very similar… We like to be weird and quirky and we like to be a little different… and not like anybody else,” she said.
“America’s Got Talent” Season 13 aired its final episode on Wednesday night. The reality TV show will return to NBC next year.