Grace VanderWaal returns to “America’s Got Talent”

Season 11 Champion Grace VanderWaal returned to “AGT” and sang her latest single: “Moonlight.” (Photo property of NBC)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

I honestly believe that Grace VanderWaal is the reason why we saw so many young performers try out for America’s Got Talent this year.

Grace VanderWaal’s Golden Buzzer audition has accumulated 68 million views on YouTube, amassed over 265,000 Twitter followers and 1.7 million Instagram followers. Also, Ms. VanderWaal’s debut EP, Practically Imperfect, peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200 chart. She also won both the 2016 Radio Disney Music Award for Best New Artist and the 2017 Teen Choice Award for Choice Next Big Thing.

There are a lot of young acts that performed last night in hopes that they followed in Grace VanderWaal’s footsteps including nine-year-old singer Angelica Hale and singing ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer, who like Grace VanderWaal received the Golden Buzzer earlier this season. Both young ladies are currently front runners that might receive the same confetti shower and headlining the AGT Las Vegas show like Grace VanderWaal at the conclusion of last season.

However, the girls may have some serious competition including South Korean hip-hop dance crew Just Jerk, comedian Preacher Lawson, singer Yoli Mayor, and A cappella group In the Stairwell.  Did the girls advance to the next round and kept Grace VanderWaal’s legacy alive? Read on to find out!

After recapping last night’s show and showing exclusive behind the scenes footage, the 12 acts appeared on the Dolby Theatre stage and Tyra introduced the judges. She also revealed the three acts up for the Dunkin’ Save: Christian Guardino, Just Jerk, and Yoli Mayor. I was stunned to learn that these three were up for the save. Just Jerk and Yoli have been so consistent this season, as for Christian, he had some hiccups last night.

We also had the first visit to the Dunkin’ Lounge, where Tyra reunited with the first set of quarter-finalists. Next, Tyra revealed that both IN THE STAIRWELL and PREACHER LAWSON earned their places in the Season 12 Semifinals. Before the Singing Trump exited the stage, he gave Tyra and the judges “Make AGT Great Again” hats and plugged his show at the Hard Rock Live.

13-year-old Grace VanderWaal’s life changed tremendously since winning. She has done appearances on Today with Kathie Lee & Hoda, Jimmy Fallon, and The Wendy Williams Show, plus received Billboard acclaim.  While I ripped into her several times last season, I thought that Grace VanderWaal improved leaps and bounds since she performed “Clay” on the show.  As Grace thanked the show for the impeccable opportunities that they gave her, I thought it was a little awkward watching Tyra interacting with Ms. VanderWaal. Even though, we had a Nick Cannon flashback…I wish we had a Nick Cannon cameo just for that segment.

To fill up time, the audience was treated to Howie’s latest stunt, Howie disguised himself as Harriet who met contestants in the Producers’ Auditions earlier this season. After a quick plug for the Season 13 Auditions, Tyra revealed that both DARCI LYNN and ANGELICA HALE made it to the next round. I adored watching them hug each other learning that they were safe.

Which meant that Bello Nock and siblings Billy and Emily England would battle it out for the remaining fifth spot. However, America voted BILLY AND EMILY ENGLAND through to the next round. I honestly wished that Bello Nock received one of the girls’ places.

This was going to be a painful Judges Save. While CHRISTIAN GUARDINO won the Dunkin’ Save, it was going to be very painful to see either YOLI MAYOR or JUST JERK leave the competition.  Heidi kicked off the round by voting to save Yoli, while Mel B went with Just Jerk. Simon checked that both acts missed a connection, but chose Yoli. It all came down to Howie’s vote…which was Just Jerk. With the judges’ deadlocked, it went back to America’s vote and it was YOLI MAYOR that was saved.

Next week, the Season 12 Quarterfinals continue!

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar