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Grace VanderWaal talks winning 'America's Got Talent' and plans for the $1 million: "I am living my dream"


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/15/2016 

Grace VanderWaal, the winner of America's Got Talent, has revealed how it feels to win the show and how she envisions spending her $1 million grand prize.

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"It kind of takes a while to set in, but it's really unbelievable," VanderWaal told People after winning the show. "I feel like... I am living my dream."

When VanderWaal, a 12-year-old singer and ukulele player, first auditioned for America's Got Talent, judge Simon Cowell asked if she believes she can win the competition.

"Miracles can happen, so possibly," VanderWaal had replied at the time.

Well, she got her miracle! The energetic and vibrant little girl defeated nine other finalists during Wednesday night's America's Got Talent finale, including runner-up The Clairvoyants. So how will she spend her prize money?

VanderWaal told People that she'd like to give some of the $1 million to charity, probably a music charity.

While her intentions prove VanderWaal is wise beyond her years, she's still only 12-years-old.

"But I want to go on Treehouse Masters and I want to get a treehouse," she adorably added.

VanderWaal will also be headlining her own show at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas from October 27-29.

"The most amazing thing about Grace is that you haven't heard anybody who sounds like her," AGT judge Howie Mandel, who had pushed his "Golden Buzzer" for her during the initial round, told the magazine.

"You haven't heard any lyrics from somebody that is like her, and we've been saying to her, you are the most unique, brightest star to come out of one of these shows."

AGT judge Simon Cowell, who compared VanderWaal to Taylor Swift this season -- which VanderWaal thinks is "truly amazing" -- admitted the young star's victory brought him back 14 years ago to the first season of American Idol.

"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."

AGT judge Heidi Klum believes VanderWaal can "really make a difference" in music, while both judge Melanie "Mel B" Brown and host Nick Cannon agree VanderWaal is an absolute "superstar."

During the finale, VanderWaal performed her initial audition song "I Don't Know My Name," which has gone viral, as well as her original tune "Clay."


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