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Chuck Ross

Why America Made the Wrong Choice in Voting Grace VanderWaal as the Winner of ‘America’s Got Talent’

Sep 15, 2016

Grace VanderWaal, who was voted the winner last night in this season’s “America’s Got Talent” competition, is a 12-year-old singing sensation who deserves huge success. But she was the wrong choice to win “America’s Got Talent.”

Don’t get me wrong — I really mean it when I say she’s a sensational singer. In the originality of her lyrics and in the idiosyncratic nature of her singing, she reminds me of the great Joni Mitchell. And I wish for Grace what rock critic Robert Hilburn once wrote about Mitchell: That “she continues to produce works of richness and value” and that “from the insights to her lyrics to [her] wholly distinctive vocal style” that there be “such quality in [Grace’s songs] that each one has a way of growing more impressive and personal as time passes.”

[A quick directorial aside: It would have been much more moving if Grace’s family had been told to rush and join her onstage if she won. Instead, a crying Grace just looked uncomfortably overwhelmed by her victory.]

Like Mitchell, I just don’t see Grace VanderWaal as a Vegas act, playing Caesars as a regular gig, a la Celine Dion, Elton John or Bette Midler. Forget Grace’s age — I’m talking stylistically.

And make no mistake: “America’s Got Talent” was created to find a Vegas act.

The show was created by Simon Cowell, and here’s Cowell in an interview in the Las Vegas Sun last December, talking about “America’s Got Talent”:

Simon Cowell: “[T]he show really was designed for Vegas. When we did ‘[American] Idol,’ it was all about finding the next big recording artist. When we devised ‘America’s Got Talent,’ it was thinking, ‘I’d love to find someone who can have a residency in Vegas.’”

Las Vegas Sun: “This is still the show’s objective? To create a headliner in a show on the Strip?”

Cowell: “I still think that, but there is more to come. I’d like to find better singers on the show. I don’t think that has been the strong point, up to this point, and that is one of the reasons I came back. Long-term, I’d love the ‘Got Talent’ room in one of the hotels in Las Vegas based on the people who have come through the show.”

Grace is terrific singer and has lots of potential. But it’s this season’s runners-up, The Clairvoyants, who will end up packing in the crowds after signing a terrific deal with a casino/resort in Vegas.

One thing that Grace’s age has going for her is that she can easily take advantage of the million dollar prize money, misnomer that it is. I say that because the show touts it like it’s a big deal – which it would be if they actually gave the winner a check for a million dollars. The producers or NBC could certainly afford to do that, given the cash cow the tremendously popular show has become.

However, as the fine print after every episode of “America’s Got Talent” explains, “The prize, which totals $1,000,000, is payable in a financial annuity over forty years, or the contestant may choose to receive the present cash value of such annuity.”

Yes, you’re reading that right. The winner of “America’s Got Talent” doesn’t get a million dollar check. If they want the million dollars, the show will pay them $25,000 a year, for forty years! And that’s before taxes. So Grace will only be 52 by the time she’s paid off, if she takes the million dollar option.

Given that the median individual annual income in the U.S. two years ago (the last time I could find stats on this) was $28,851 (meaning half of us make more than that, and half of us make less than that), you can see why Nick Cannon shouts out that “the winner gets $1 million,” instead of shouting out that “the winner gets $25,000 a year for 40 years.”

One published report says when “America’s Got Talent” season five winner Michael Grimm chose the lump sum option he received – after taxes – a little more than $200,000.

56 Comments

  1. None of the talent shows (American Idol, X Factor, Americas Got Talent, etc) have ever been won by anyone who performed a different original composition for every performance. The brilliance of Grace as a composer and lyricist is the point. Appealing, catchy, interesting songs are what made Cole Porter and Taylor Swift superstars, and that is what has propelled Grace to fame. You can criticize any way you want, but that brilliance cannot be denied.

  2. No one can deny Grace’s amazing talent, however if what Simon Cowell claims to be the show’s objective is finding a Vegas act – this selection does not make sense.

    Honestly, can you see this young lady as gifted as she is filling an hour or more on a Vegas stage? Do you see crowds rushing to see her even with all the comps in the world it simply will not happen. In due time as Grace matures she will surely advance to true stardom, but sorry at this time it is really premature.

  3. The decision was made by viewers, not Simon and his staff. If he wants to deliver great acts to Las Vegas, the structure and voting have to be adjusted to accomplish that. The public picked the winner. As mentioned on the show, only 1% separated the top three positions. So in the real world that is a three way tie! The “showcase” the show provides is more valuable than the monetary prize. If Avenue Q can continue to draw crowds in Las Vegas they can certainly figure out how to build a show with Grace. Chuck is a bit off the mark on this one.

  4. I as well as others were extremely disappointed in who won. We could not understand any and I mean any of her words, nor could we understand the tune , either. Then she wins!! We have always very much enjoyed AGT and there were so many talented people It was almost unbelievable. I still can’t get over her winning. I sure wouldn’t go see her. If I did it would be to hear what she was singing, both words and music. I might think a little before I watch it next year.

    • Oh my gosh you are so right. Who would ever want to sit and watch a 12 year old or anyone stand in place and sing. There were so many more worthy vocalists. Do we really know that she wrote all her own songs? Just maybe the voting mechanism for AGT is all wrong. Like you I have thought about not giving AGT the attention it once deserved. The talent this year was outstanding, Grace was not.

    • Chuck Ross You know you took the time to research the cash prize. Why didn’t you look at the Vegas prize? Its 3 days and she headlining an act with the other AGT Clairvoyants and Tape Face.
      Oh by the way it sold out the first 3 days so they added a 4th that is almost sold out now. So much for no one wanting to see her in Vegas.

    • You need your hearing checked if you could not understand Grace.

    • Some people doesn’t get it, and that’s may be because she is a new generation of singer. She writes and sings for school teenagers. Kids talk, sing and behave the way she does. Hey, have you seen how many covers and views she got after the first audition and I guess at worldwide level? Does that doesn’t count at all? it’s a different audience and market so open your minds a little.
      Her personality, croaky voice and so natural style got me and my wife from the beginning and we’re some decades away from being teenagers. About lyrics, please check your audition if you don’t get it.
      Another key point: there is an interview to her mother where she explains why Grace picked AGT. She wasn’t the age to participate in American Idol (I guess it’s 15 yrs min) so AGT was open since they allowed less age, and she decided to go for it. A more commercial parents could have told her wait until 15 but she felt was prepared and wanted to try it out and her parent did what a parent had to do: give her support.

    • I loved every second of her unique voice and original compositions. I cried almost every time she sang. I just LOVE HER❤️❤️❤️ So to each his own, but I called her as the winner the first time I heard her sing.

      As for a vegas act, she can do her 6 week gig and move on. She has since gone on to international fame and is selling albums. She held Americas heartstrings from the beginning and I for one can’t get enough!!!!

  5. The long term goal of the show is to get ratings. No ratings no show. There were more than a few people on AGT last night who only tuned in because of Grace. AGT will reconfigure the show before they lose ratings. Maybe they should have two prizes. One for the million dollars and one for the Vegas act.

  6. I am with Glenda’s report (above)–we could not understand a word, nor does she even have a real voice–she tlaks most of the song. We feel that this show should allow anyone under 18–certainly not at leas to get to the finals. It’s ludicrous.

  7. I can tell you one thing, she has more talent than the author of this piece. Wow. The show is called “America’s Got Talent” and, the first two paragraphs of the article detailed just how talented this girl is. So right off the bat, the author validates the fact that she has “got talent”. The article then goes into a rant about how viewers are supposed to vote for the best Vegas act. I was never instructed to ignore talent and vote for a Vegas act. Neither the title of the show nor commentary by Nick Cannon (or Punjab or Bo Derek or whomever he decided to channel that week) did such a thing.

    Of course it is true that she is not a Vegas act. Not my problem and not her problem. It is the show’s / casino’s problem to make sure this doesn’t happen again if finding a Vegas act is indeed the goal of the show.

    Finally, I don’t understand the rant about the prize money. You take an article about talent and, without warning or need, turn this into a criticism of the payouts. First, it was out of place considering the overall theme of the article. Second, and I think we all know this, many big prizes are paid off in the same way. Power Ball, Mega Millions, probably Publisher’s Clearing House, etc.

    I don’t normally comment on things online, and never have on this site but this article was awful.

  8. Her songs get better and better especially when you have read the lyrics. At first I thought that she isn’t right for a vegas act but after listening to her songs over and over she will slay Las Vegas. Just wait and see.

  9. I have to agree with those who couldn’t understand a word she said in that final song and she is not a Vegas act like the Clairvoyants or Sal, Linken Bridge, Lauren the opera singer, Jon the football player,/magician, Viktor the juggler who could probably join Cirque de Soleil. r. or john Bryan Crum who’s voice is far superior. I think Simon building her up to be the next Taylor Swift as she writes her songs, may have swayed people but it was sad, I was glad to see Tapeface didn’t win even though he could be entertaining at times I got tired of him. Someone one a different site wrote singers have the Voice(but no more Idol) and country singers have CMT for vocal contests but I don’t know how long I could sit listening to her and her uke f that’s all the show is. The winner a few seasons back who had puppets and could sing not only got the prize of a year in Vegas but it was extended way beyond and have the room named for him. My husband and I saw him and he was great! He had a second person helping write the material and added more puppets into the act!!! People laughed and applauded all during the show as it was that good. Maybe they need to re-think rules or something but it isn’t the 1st time there have been mistakes. The chicken farmer and guy who sang Sinatra songs at the car wash seemed to disappear. I heard his album of Sinatra hits and maybe 1 or 2 others like Dean Martin, didn’t do well as far as record sales as the whole world doesn’t watch the show. A woman like Ronnie should have ended up higher as well but I wish they would have announced that a mistake had been made and that she was the runner up and Mr. Crum had won or that Lauren had won. I forgot too about the beautiful young contortionist who could develop a Vegas act as well! In any case, I agree the wrong person won!

    • Fuck Vegas. Place is so cheesy. Filled with scumbags, slutty chicks, old people and fat middle american’s.

  10. This show is a joke. They turn a few minutes of shaky performance into hour-long shows crammed with self-promotion. They could have done the whole competition in two weeks if they cut out all the BS. I watched most of the season but found I could fast-forward through at least 80% of the show and still catch everything that mattered. Next year I won’t even bother to do that.

  11. Chuck Ross, your father made a mistake not using a condom.

  12. Where are all the doubters now? They added an extra show in Vegas, she was exceedingly well received by the fans and critics, and now her EP is #1 preorder on ITunes. But, what are the chances that people who were so desperately wrong would EVER admit it? Good part is, the joke is on them. Grace and her fans are leaving the haters behind.

    • Seriously, it’s a bit premature to say Grace, for all her talent as well as her shortcomings, will have a long career. Show business is designed to eat their young, chew ’em up, spit ’em out, and what’s next? Grace won at least in part because she is charming and disarming .. we know that won’t last or at least have legs to carry a career. She is a great song writer but that, too, may be trendy as it is hard to keep the connection with Grace’s main audience but time will tell. Grace did connect with the voting public and the audience and that’s a big plus for longevity; but we know that the public is fickle and the last great thing is quickly displaced by the new and shiny. I wish Grace the best of luck but she needs to have people around her to keep her grounded as the fall is hard when you’re this high so quickly.

  13. I love Grace! She was à refreshing new going talant! Unlike All the cheesy, over rated, typical Vegas wannabes! She is honest and very inteligent! Writing her own lyrics were obviously from her own experiences! And for those thar couldnt understand her! Well tell me a pop song thay angine can understand the words to! Grace will out do All of your critical judgemental lame opinions! Im sûre You thar dont like Grace âge very much libéral and have the narrow mindedness of Hillary Clinton. If not, your just an ass!! M’y oppinion im intitled To voice my oppinion!

  14. You people are strang tearing down a little 12 year old girl, she has more talent than any of you haters that’s the problem you are all jealous . Grace Vanderwaal rocks the stage, she’s young and still learning and her voice is only going to get better.

  15. Nothing but love to Grace and her family ?❤️️

  16. IntereI’ve read a few interesting comments here about Graces singing. To those who say she lacks real talent I am surprised. I guess when I watched the videos somehow I could make out the songs and lyrics with her amazing voice. What is missed is that she has her own style with her original voice. What I wonder if the critics to her style of singing ever listened to Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Hozier or the thousands of other artists that bring their own style to music often difficult to understand but great in their own right. Grace does not sing opera nor is she a crooner she sings grace.
    She writes the songs beginning to end they are hers. Her recently released EP is off the charts with fabulous reviews. Her new addition of Gossip Girl starts to show the diversity and creativity of this young talent with extraordinary potential.
    I’ve read the comments questioning her claim that she wrote her own songs. With absolutely no evidence to the contrary and even her offhanded explanation of how the songs are born from her it shows me that those are making an argument to diminish her performance but instead this argues for her talent. It’s almost like saying well if she did she does have talent but since she doesn’t… Since she obviously has written her material her talent cannot be denied.
    I understand that everyone has their own taste of music. Got it! Mine is quite eclectic.
    If you take a minute on YouTube and do the following search “Grace Vanderwaal Reaction videos” you may be surprised to the diversity of her audience and how young and old react to her songs, performance etc.
    She is one precocious 12 year old and an autodidact in music. Yet she remains a 12 year old, an honors student and parts of me never want her to grow up; yet as she does I expect great things from her and even if she decides on another path she has brought tears of happiness to this world. That to me is singing…
    So sing your heart out Grace.
    sting comments

    • I understand your comment and the analogy(s) to Dylan, Joplin, Cohen … and you might add it Steward, Cocker, and Mitchell. Don’t forget, though, that those performers either had a short shelf life or extended their careers into iconographic status due to their other talents, namely song writing. Grace’s voice is NOT going to be the voice that lasts; it is trendy now. That being said, that mostly applies to other singers who will sing like that or do now as, like it said, it is trendy. Grace will either fade away or endure on the basis of song writing genius. The question is to be determined though, is whether she can maintain this connection of her songs, music, and lyrics to a target audience as she grows and matures. Time will tell. I, too, was very surprised that Grace won and was surprised and impressed that the judges targeted her as a likely winner early on. However, they aren’t necessarily thinking about her career in the long term, but the now. Her initial album sold well, but let’s see how the others will do so going forward. The Beatles moved away from simple pop Rock and Roll with Rubber Soul and then, in particular, Sgt Peppers, etc. Rock lasted because the genre will always last not unlike Country, but the audience is wider and those that lasted evolved or were in the public consciousness permanently (e.g. The Stones and maybe Fleetwood Mac in revival only). I see Grace’s talent but as to her longevity, I reserve judgement.

  17. I agree with the many others who think those who tied for the top three spots were more talented and more suitable to win. If Grace remains a talent with the ability to attract a broad audience, then she might me ready for Vegas in the future, but not now. I think it is ludicrous that children can win this contest. I just watched her on the AGT Christmas special, and she did a terrible job on a simple Christmas song. She sang in a monotone, her words ran together, she could not be understood, her timing was so off it seemed as if she couldn’t remember the words, and it seemed as if she was looking to the side for someone to help her with the lyrics. Most of the time she seemed out of breath. Even a gifted child needs to have vocal coaching, training,and education so she can avoid learning destructive singing patterns that will destroy her voice and natural talent. Vocal cords have a limit, and it sounds as if hers may have already been stretched to or beyond repair. That is why AGT should reconsider having children on their show.

    • First of all, the Holiday Spectacular was filmed right after the Finale so I don’t blame her is she was a little tired. She didn’t botch it up … I have never had a problem with understanding Grace’s diction … she does tend to clip her hard consonants between phrases, but that can be ironed out, and her most recent performances on iHeart radio and Paste Studios prove this.

      Again, she wasn’t just voted by the public for singing alone, and yet this is the heart of your criticism.

      • You’re correct. Grace didn’t win the public for singing alone. She won in part because she was a cute kid with real song writing talent. Her somewhat “croaky” voice was unique as well as endearing and I suspect reminded some parents of their own children. The voice fits her songs and isn’t unpleasant for some, whereas it is for others. Still, it is largely her appearance and emotional connection to the voting public (maybe a lot of tweens, etc) that won her the popular vote based result. That being said, it is partly for those reasons that I thought “The Clairvoyants” deserved to win the competition. If Grace were a 20 something singing exactly the same way with similar brilliant songs, I doubt she would have won as the standards of “acceptable” for singing are higher for adults than for children. I wonder who would have won if it were Grace vs Angelina Jordan or even young Jackie Evancho. I’d suspect that the votes for them might cancel each other out and Jackie and Angelina being given LESS votes than Grace based more on them being younger, with Grace falling into the sweet spot where it’s ok to like her over younger performers with “cute factors” because she, too, is still a kid who is cute. Were she 16, then she might not have caught the “too cute to lose” votes.

        • Have you heard Angelina’s “I put a spell on you”, or “Back to black” ? She is unbelievable. But I don’t know if she would win a popular vote in the USA. The only advantage Grace has is that she wrote her own music. But if you want to hear the best young voices on Earth, it’s the classical kids like Laura Bretan and Amira Willighagen. They have a divine gift.

  18. During the bridge of the Christmas song, it calls for singing the notes of a major chord. Twice she sang horribly off key. I don’t consider that a nuance or a style. It was OUT OF TUNE.

    Howie, who gave her that gold button, is tone deaf. I think her winning was an insult to the other truly talented and in tune singers that were competing, especially Brian. I’m called a hater, and even banned from commenting on her thread on youtube because I mentioned this truth about her being out of tune. I don’t hate the girl. But in real life, singing off key like that would bar her from even being in a glee club. I have to wonder what the other real singers on there were saying when they couldn’t be heard. I know they heard her singing off key. All those little girls that sand with her on the carol, I know they heard her singing off key. OFF KEY, not nuances, not style.

    I don’t hate Grace. Why would I? Do I love Brian or Laura? No, why would I. but Brian and Laura especially along with every other singer on that show were 1000 better and IN TUNE. Saying a person is out of tune when they are out of tune is not hate. It’s truth.

    Otherwise, sure, I wish the girl all the luck and money she can get.

  19. During the bridge of the Christmas song, it calls for singing the notes of a major chord. Twice she sang horribly off key. I don’t consider that a nuance or a style. It was OUT OF TUNE.

    Howie, who gave her that gold button, is tone deaf. I think her winning was an insult to the other truly talented and in tune singers that were competing, especially Brian. I’m called a hater, and even banned from commenting on her thread on youtube because I mentioned this truth about her being out of tune. I don’t hate the girl. But in real life, singing off key like that would bar her from even being in a glee club. I have to wonder what the other real singers on there were saying when they couldn’t be heard. I know they heard her singing off key. All those little girls that sand with her on the carol, I know they heard her singing off key. OFF KEY, not nuances, not style.

    I don’t hate Grace. Why would I? Do I love Brian or Laura? No, why would I. but Brian and Laura especially along with every other singer on that show were 1000 better and IN TUNE. Saying a person is out of tune when they are out of tune is not hate. It’s truth.

    Otherwise, sure, I wish the girl all the luck and money she can get.

    • True

  20. What a dumbass article writer. Don’t even have his facts right. Vegas shows was 4 days only moron.

  21. Grace is good at songwriting. Her ability as a singer however is questionable. Show her music off to professional vocal instructors and they will tell you the damage her voice demonstrates. Her unique sound is because of damage. She probably did not have enough vocal instruction. She has an acceptable range, but her voice is just a pinnacle of damage. If you take Whitney Houston and Celine Dion for example, their voices are rich and beautiful without compare. Not flawless persay, but you get the point. Also, the people were swayed by the disbelief about her age and “ability”. I think she was a bad choice for many reasons, but her charisma is something that may have helped her win. My opinion. Deny or believe if you like.

    • You are incorrect. She’s always had the rasp in her voice .. her range changed because her voice changed going from 12 to 13. By comparing singing voices to Whitney and Celine in their prime, you’ve eliminated 95% of the singers out there.

      When Sinatra got older and did his concert thing, it was obvious all the years of smoking and drinking destroyed that once gorgeous voice. He was able to adopt to a different style, but ultimately stayed busy because he was able to create a connection with the audience. That is why I will always listen to Grace and why she won. Brian Justin Crum? Laura Bretan? Great voices … no connection. They hit great notes … but creating a connection? There is a reason why BJC’s cover of “Creep” was incrediblde. It obviously meant something to him in a deep way.

    • Grace has a naturally raspy voice. Her voice is not damaged at all. America voted. Get over it.

  22. well, Chuck Ross….you want to know who got it wrong here? surely not america about grace vanderwaal! you got it really wrong about saying she would not be a good fit for las vegas. 3 sold out shows, added a 4th night. i don’t think you’re very smart.

  23. Why this Moron got it wrong.
    1. Grace sold out 4 shows not 3 an extra was added due to her popularity.
    2. Anyone who thinks she can not sing, go look up her cover of A Team for Paste or check out her cover of Adele’s one and only.
    3. She debut at #9 in the billboard 200, and her EP has gotten rave reiviews from those that have bought it.
    4. She is continually learning and improving, she has now taken up the guitar and has the gut to perform with it even though she has stated she is a beginner.
    5. She has the ability to pull in fans form all ages and all countries as she is genuine to herself and people feel it

  24. You all are wrong. I couldn’t understand her words all the time either. But have you taken the time to hear her professionally produced EP? You can hear and understand every emotionly charged word and lyric from a brilliant song writer. Unique voice and instrument. America spoke and Grace won, deservingly so. She has inspired so many millions world wide. Especially young girls. That is a priceless gift.

    As far as Vegas goes….. Look what she did. Pack in full sold out crowd for three shows. They had to add a fourth. Her style is not Vegas. Not to be a regular. She could go on your right now around the world and I bet she would sell out everyone. I am not a huge fan of her music, only because I am more classic country/rock. But you just can’t help noticing the impact this young artist has made.

  25. Wow you idjits just don’t get it. You’re a bunch of closed minded buffoons that wouldn’t understand talent if it bit you in the arse. If you want to hear people sing covers go to a karaoke bar.
    Grace was awesome on so many levels. Her singing, originality and style left the competition in the dust. Sure the others were great singers, but just carbon copies of the same crap we’ve heard for years.
    Grace Vanderwahl deserves all the praise that comes her way. Besides 400 million people who gave hit her up on YouTube can’t be wrong.
    So thbbb…

  26. The folks that fret about Grace and Las Vegas–forget you. Grace has a stage presence that draws most people in. What’s more if you think they are going to stick a little thing like her on a stage with a ukulele, you are mistaken. She will have musicians and possibly back up vocals. For those of you that could not understand her, look up on youtube and listen to her songs and they even print the lyrics for you. Her lyric is amazing–NOT just for a little girl, but for anyone.Read and listen to the lyrics in Beautiful Thing–this girl’s a genius. It is about her sister and if you do not well up, you are heartless. Simon Cowell would not have said about he what he said. He may, though change his mind about Las Vegas, because she will be taking on the world.

  27. Grace is the real deal. She is the most talented person I have ever seen come along in generations. All I do is shake my head when I listen to her. I cannot believe how young she is. She is brilliant to be able to write the songs she does at her age. That is unheard of. She is a true artist and the world will know her name forever. The best to Grace. She is going to change the world through music. She is a prodigy of a lifetime and I feel honored to listen to her music. Little Miss Mozart. GO GRACE!

  28. Million people can not be mad !!!!
    Google review 2016 selects “light the sky” as background music
    Disney Awarts Grace becomes newcommer and vertical starter of the year !!!
    Millions of people love Grace and her music !!!

  29. To those touting that Grace headlined 4 shows, it may help to understand that many of us have been watching AGT for years. When it first came out, the prize was a one-year stint in Las Vegas, and during auditions the judges still make comments about how they can’t see an act headlining a Vegas show. If the Vegas aspect truly is down to 3 or 4 shows with other acts, I do not believe that it has not been made clear to longtime fans. Personally, I can see ANY act headlining a variety show with four dates; I suspect that the author is under the perception that the stint is much longer.

  30. Grace didn’t need to win. Her voice was just so screechy and off pitch it made me and my family groan. I was rooting for The Clairvoyants, Tape Face, Laura Bretan, and Sofie Dossi. Grace’s voice just makes me cringe. She seems to scream. Grace is definitely taking advantage of this. Posting selfies everywhere, and bragging. She should have at least came in 3rd place

  31. Cheers for the talented girl who has all sorts of supports including successful and caring family. I was one of the people who got impressed with her natural talent and charm, but her fatigue and overwhelming volume and speed of expectations after the show convinced me that her life was not ready to receive them yet. She was neither ambitious nor experienced.

  32. America voted, and Grace was the choice. “Sour grapes?”

    I have a friend who has two Grammys for his songwriting, another whose songs have been covered by Ringo Starr, Dave Mason and John Mellencamp. I play in my own band, in which I attempt to sing. I have been around the music business so long that I met Janis Joplin and smoked a joint with Jerry Garcia. Grace is the real deal, and she will become an icon.

    Sent links to a friend who is a musician, and he comments that maybe she sings a little flat in one of her performance and her ukulele playing is nothing special. Talk about not getting it. Performing is not a technical exercise, it is establishing a connection. The guy who made these comments is in his sixties, has been a musician all his life, and Grace has already performed for more people than he has in his entire career.

    If the purpose of music is to transmit emotion, there is no one better at it than Grace VanderWaal. She will only get better, but she started out by being world-class from the jump.

    You H8rs are insane. This is a generational talent that does not come along very often.

  33. Sorry I missed Grace’s rise to stardom until now. It is June 2017, and I am just now binge watching hundreds of Grace videos. You don’t know my name, I’m just a voice in the crowd impressed with the talent of a 12 year old’s rise to stardom so here to ramble my thoughts. I’ve always been a diehard fan of vocal auditions and am sure Grace had me watching her audition 100 times or more. I agree with all the comments supporting Grace Vanderwaal’s singing writing lyric talent, and how it made an instant connection. Few can follow Grace’s formula for success and reach heights so quickly. While watching her videos I picked up some neat secrets that should be heeded for those seeking the same path. Have a wonderful Dad Mom and Sister who love, support, protect, encourage, all the way, without such her rise may be short lived and out of balance. Write your own songs, so many can copy great singers with fantastic similarity though it ends when you are asked to sing your own songs at some point. Win the Golden Buzzer then fill YouTube with great performances to prime the upcoming vote. Pick a song that programs your audience to accept you, just the words “I don’t know my name” hit almost everybody with a connection, “I don’t play by the rules of the game” accept Grace for who she is, not on preconceived judgments, “don’t ask me any Questions” was a great line mostly edited out due to 90 second time constraints don’t question motives, “Ocean of people” have a distinctive voice that cries for attention, “I now know my name” so many need to hear these words when they are hurting inside. I could go on you get the idea. So many sing fantastic renditions of other singers but where are they after a couple years, they were great because we saw how well they copied, but they lose the connection. Grace has a near perfect foundation to build on, her voice is rare, she has time to improve, people want to be on the ground floor of a rising star, she writes her own material, and it is, and will always be, just Amazing Grace.

    Sorry for the ramble, I packed 1.5 years of Grace into 30 hours of youtube videos, and when the videos ran out, 1 hour of commentaries. Here I am commenting. I love who Grace is, support all she does, love that she has a wonderful supporting family that has been there for her every step of the way, and hope that relationship blossoms as her career grows. I am one of the majority world population that will never accomplish in my life what Grace and many like her have been given the chance to shine, instant connection. I think she has handled the rise with grace, pardon the pun. At the OnStage YouTube performance when she added “Hi” to her song for the nearby audience, as only Grace can do, I loved this also, and look forward to more neat things from Grace.

  34. I agree with this article 100%. Like Mike S, I am a little late. Anyways, I am a twelve year old girl and yes, I am jealous of her. There, I said it. Most tween/teen girls love to be famous and I think anyone who says they aren’t jealous is lying. I’m not exactly jealous of her singing (I sound like a dying bullfrog so yes, in a way, I’m jealous of everyone with range) because it’s not the voice I’d desire for myself. Her voice is decent; some words are hard to hear. It’s cute, but it’s the kind of voice that wouldn’t fit an older person. I agree: if she was 16 or whatever, she wouldn’t have gotten that too cute to lose vote. I’m not jealous of her songwriting, either: while the lyrics are beautiful, many times I’ve been complimented on my writing skills (I don’t actually think I’m that good but you know, I guess I am). Lots of people write music just as beautiful as that and sing even better than her and just because they’re older, the fact that they play a sweet instrument like the uke is nothing? Not fair. In a couple years, everyone will forget about Grace Vanderwaal. It’s a shame because has real writing skill and real musical potential, but she’s just a phase and when she becomes older, she’ll either subcum to the media or the world will just lose interest.

    • Omg sorry I forgot to say what I’m jealous of ;P I’m jealous of her fame. All she had to do was get up on a stage, act cute, strum a ukulele, and sing a song she wrote and she gets a million dollars? Weird. I sing and play the uke and write my own songs. Not that I’d have the courage to tell anyone, but still. If I ever did, everyone would accuse me of copying her. Anyway, yes, the girl’s got skill, but not enough to win a Vegas act and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

  35. Well for all those doubters she packs them i and has does a great job interacting with her audience. She even works the crowd like someone who has been doing it for many years. She is now thirteen with a personality and stage presence of someone 10 years older. Her songs mature along with her.

  36. Out of curiosity I started reading some of the many comments about Grace Vanderwaal winning AGT and just kept going till I read them all. It was easy to understand the reason for so many positive comments, I feel the same way, but the apparent vehemence of some negative comments was surprising. Some others were just stating facts about her talent or lack there of as they saw it. The really negative comments however, weren’t very constructive and may have revealed more about their authors than their target. Could that be why we were taught from childhood, ‘If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything’?! Hey, I couldn’t understand all of her words either, but she still sounded great! So I looked up the lyrics and now enjoy her songs even more. ‘Moon Light’ is my favorite.

    I recall Simon Cowell saying something to Grace early on in the competition about her singing just a little off at times hitting a wrong note (I never noticed), and even about her voice crackling a little; but that those little faults worked in her favor and were actually part of her charisma. He had acknowledged from the start what some of her critics are saying now, but in a constructive way and was complementing her. I agreed and still do. Grace’s talent doesn’t lie solely in her singing and song writing, it is in the entire package she brings to the table: she is engaging, endearing, charming, pretty, very attractive, cute as a button and has a magnetic personality that draws people of all ages. And, she has a rare ability to bring common, yet hard to express feelings to song. Whether her style (I contend nearly a genre of its own), is a ‘flash in the pan’ or not, is not worth debating. I’m pushing seventy years old, yet like most other younger people who have watched and heard her perform, absolutely love her. The words she sings from her heart melt mine because, again like most others, I’ve been there too, and so can appreciate her ability, talent and willingness to expose and express what she feels. The pure open innocence with which she responds to life through song exposes a beautiful young heart and brings tears to my eyes. I believe that’s why so many people love her music. Simon said, ‘You deserve to win, Grace, because you did it in a real way, your own way; no gimmicks, it was all you’. And Howie later added a very important piece of worthy advice, ‘Never change, Grace, stay true to yourself’. If she follows that advice, she’ll be a star for a long time.

    To my age group and younger adults, Grace is a charming little sweetheart and a pleasure to listen to and watch. To her larger audience (her age group and older teens I would assume), she is someone to identify with, feel close to and look to as a roll model. The bottom line is: she makes everyone feel good, laugh and cry with joy at the same time. Also, like Simon, Howie and the other judges agreed, Grace Vanderwaal can, in a similar style to Taylor Swift, be a huge success for years to come. As long as she doesn’t go the way of the world (too exotic), like some have, her appeal will remain as she grows and matures – and her fans will remain loyal and grow in number. Like Grace suggested in an interview, ‘I’ll just sit back, relax, get some popcorn or “whatever you need to do, Boo Boo”‘ and enjoy her soothingly entertaining songs and countenance. You go Girl!

  37. She is awful to listen to. She proved herself again last night on AGT. I always thought her name was Grace Caterwaul because that’s all she does and it’s so annoying. Her voice sounds like so many other girls right now, not original or anything special. It’s like mass produced, annoying, can’t understand a single word she’s caterwauling. If this is all the world has to offer as new music or artists, we are in trouble. As someone else mentioned could you imagine watching her stand there and sing her simplistic songs on stage for even 15 min?

  38. lol “Grace Caterwaul”… so spot on.
    Wouldn’t be quite so bad if her mangled pronunciation weren’t such an overdone affectation of a cliché but would it still be twee enough for her to have won?

  39. Grace Vanderwaal derserves the win. I did not watch the season as it aired but only found several months ago. She is without a doubt an extraordinary talent. She sings, writes, composes, and plays instruments. Her songs are catchy, and as she grows will only grow in complexity and polish. For those of you critics who want to mock her, you are idiots. We all have our own tastes in entertainment, that does not diminish ones talents. There are certain forms of music that I do not want to listen too, but that doesn’t diminish the artists talents. There were many talented people in the season she won, and many of them will go on to successful careers, but none of them had the broad range of talents and mass appeal that Grace Vanderwaal has in truckloads. If you want to be negative so be it…why not instead explain who you think should have won and why.

  40. Even if she took the lump sum I don’t think she’ll ever have to worry about money. Since the airing of the following season finale. Grace has signed a record deal with Columbia Records and a Modeling deal with IMG modeling agency. So I think she will be fine

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