Grace VanderWaal instantly won the hearts of America when she took to the stage for her audition on America’s Got Talent. She also won the hearts of the judges, especially Howie Mandel, who pushed his golden buzzer for the talented 12-year-old singer-songwriter.
Week after week, VanderWaal amazed with her original songs and breathtaking performances, making her a clear frontrunner from the start. Her performances prompted judge Simon Cowell to comment that she could be “the next Taylor Swift.” But now that VanderWaal has won the competition, Cowell says that reminds him of another singer who found fame on a television show.
In an interview with People following VanderWaal’s big win, Cowell said that her reaction to winning America’s Got Talent reminded him of the way Kelly Clarkson reacted when she won the first season of American Idol 14 years ago, which was before VanderWaal was even born.
“That moment at the end, it reminded me of the Kelly Clarkson moment. You know, when they said, ‘And the winner is Kelly Clarkson,'” Cowell said. “I kind of had that same feeling again when they read her name out, and I saw her reaction and she was literally in pieces. I like that though.”
If VanderWaal is indeed like Clarkson, then she could one day go on to become one of the biggest stars in the music industry. She already seems to be off to a good start!
As for what VanderWaal plans to do with her $1 million in prize money, she already has some big plans in mind. She told People she wants to give part of the prize to charity, specifically one that is music-related.
She may be the winner of America’s Got Talent, but VanderWaal is still a kid after all. That’s why she hopes to use part of her prize money to help achieve every child’s dream.
“I want to go on Treehouse Masters and I want to get a treehouse,” she said.
VanderWaal definitely deserves that treehouse, and so much more. Tune in to the video below to watch the emotional moment when she was named as the winner of America’s Got Talent.