Despite his reputation as the most ruthless talent judge on TV, Simon Cowell and his icy heart were no match for 12-year-old America’s Got Talent hopeful Grace VanderWaal. The budding singer-songwriter’s audition aired Tuesday night, and has since become required viewing for anyone who cares about music’s Next Big Thing ... because Grace might just be it.
Dressed in an adorably preppy outfit and clutching a ukulele, Grace oozed confidence from the moment she stepped onstage. In a gutsy move, she decided to sing an original song, something that typically doesn’t go over too well on talent-search shows. But her defiant tune — in which she declares, “I don’t play by the rules of the game” — quickly endeared her to everyone in the room.
Howie Mandel called her a “living, beautiful, walking miracle” and used his fancy “golden buzzer,” which sends her straight to the live show, skipping the first elimination round and guaranteeing we’ll see more of her soon.
Cowell, meanwhile, declared her “special,” “a star,” and boldly declared, “I think you are the next Taylor Swift.” Remember: This is the dude who helped give us One Direction and Fifth Harmony, among other acts, so history says we should trust him.
Besides, he’s totally right -- from Grace’s short blonde bob, her creative lyricism, and charming optimism (asked if she thought she could win, she said, “Miracles can happen, so possibly”), this girl is practically a mini T. Swift already. Oh, and she totally nails Tay’s surprise face: