It almost doesn’t matter what happens next: America’s Got Talent finalist Grace VanderWaal is already a winner.
The 12-year-old performer lit up the stage with yet another original song on Tuesday. The track, called “Clay,” is about bullies.
“Your silly words, I won’t live inside your world,” she crooned from behind her ukulele. “‘Cause your punches and your names, all your jokes and stupid games, they don’t work. No, they don’t hurt. Watch them just go right through me, because they mean nothing to me. Try to change my shape, but baby, I’m not clay. Sorry, not today.”
Despite the fancy, romantic set pieces and string accompaniment, the pre-teen, with her unique voice and powerful words, remained the star. Judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel, and Mel B all gave her yet another standing ovation.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,” Mandel said. “It’s not only a song. It speaks to you. You are amazing. Grace has to win. This was my favorite moment of the night.”
VanderWaal impressed the judges from the moment of her first audition back in June; Cowell called her “the next Taylor Swift” and Mandel gave her his golden buzzer, sending her straight to the next round of the competition. Each time, she’s returned with a new original song and another standing ovation-worthy performance.
Watch VanderWaal’s performance below. America’s Got Talent crowns its winner live tonight at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.