TV Watch America's Got Talent
Grace Vanderwaal won $1 million and the title of America's Got Talent's season 11 champion.
If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then Grace Vanderwaal should be very flattered.
Twelve-year-old Grace Vanderwaal stole Simon Cowell's heart while plucking her ukulele, but the adorable America's Got Talent winner might not have been as victorious without her piggy bank.
Vanderwaal revealed on Thursday that she first fell in love with the unique instrument when a family friend from Brazil visited.
"She played the ukulele and so I wanted one because she played one and I really liked it," the preteen explained on Access Hollywood Live . "Her hand looked so cool when she played it. And so I asked one for my 11th birthday and I remember my mom did not buy me one because she thought I would never play it!"
Instead, Vanderwaal saved up all of her birthday money to purchase her own. And the new instrument only furthered Vanderwaal's songwriting.
Within a few seconds of Grace Vanderwaal stepping on the America's Got Talent stage, the nation fell in love with the 12-year-old singer. From the original song she performed at her initial audition to her charming disposition, it was clear very early on that Vanderwaal was going far.
On Wednesday, the musical phenom was announced as the winner of season 11 of the reality competition show, clinching the million dollar prize and a headlining show in Las Vegas. And most of her friends at school didn't even know she sang!
Find out more about the talented young entertainer below.
Grace Vanderwaal wasn't even born when Kelly Clarkson won the first season of American Idol in 2002 – but her America's Got Talent win Wednesday night was just as iconic.
In fact, judge Simon Cowell even took a moment to point out the similarities between the two moments.
"That moment at the end, it reminded me of the Kelly Clarkson moment," Cowell, 56, told reporters after the show. "You know, when they said, 'And the winner is Kelly Clarkson.' 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."
At just 12 years old, Grace Vanderwaal has stolen America's heart and nabbed the title of America's Got Talent winner.
America's Got Talent judges Howie Mandel and Mel B agree to disagree when it comes to the reality competition show's newest seating arrangement.
After sitting in the same judge's seat for years, Mandel decided he should finally switch it up for season 10.
"This year I changed – seven years, six years I spent in the same seat – and I never thought about seating arrangements, and I said, 'Can I sit on the other side?' " Mandel, 60, tells PEOPLE.