Grace VanderWaal was just like any other New York 12-year old until she and her mother decided to let her try out for the NBC television competition, America’s Got Talent. Grace had written songs since she was three years old, so unlike most child performers, she sang an original song on the show, and played a ukulele. Not even Grace’s sixth grade friends knew she loved singing, but soon the whole world would find out.
Grace’s song at the audition, “I Don’t Know My Name,” blew away the audience and all four judges, who gave her a standing ovation. And then one judge even hit a special button for outstanding acts, which meant that Grace went directly into the quarterfinals. Head judge and record producer Simon Cowell, who is known for his tough comments, loved Grace so much he promised she was going to be a star, and called her “the next Taylor Swift.”
Grace went on to win America’s Got Talent, which means the adorable 12-year old was a millionaire and YouTube sensation before her 13th birthday. And now everyone knows her name, including Taylor Swift herself, who sent her flowers to congratulate her on her victory.
Here is the performance that started it all, Grace’s audition to America’s Got Talent: Grace’s Audition
This scale is based on the grade level of text. For example, a “5.0” means the reading level of a fifth grade elementary textbook. A ’12’ is equal to a the 12th grade or last year in high school; a ’13’ equals the first year in university. The grade levels correspond to the U.S. school system.