Grace VanderWaal is arguably this year’s cutest contestant on America’s Got Talent, but she doesn’t want to be thought of as merely cute — she wants people to respect her vocal talent and her knack for writing original lyrics. Sadly, the respect that she so badly desires was in short supply tonight, when VanderWaal was announced as the Season 11 winner.
A lot of people adore VanderWaal, but seemingly just as many think she’s overrated. And that’s perfectly fine — different musicians appeal to different people. And of course, some people just don’t like the idea of any singer winning America’s Got Talent.
I totally get why people are disappointed by VanderWaal’s win, but what I don’t get is how harsh they are on Twitter. She’s a 12-year-old girl for crying out loud. I’d be annoyed even if she happened to be of legal age, but her preteen status makes the vitriol all the more upsetting. She’s a talented girl and she does not deserve to be torn down.
According to the haters, VanderWaal has absolutely no talent and only came out on top because she’s so adorable. They must be hearing a different singer, because the voice I heard last night was beautiful — and the original lyrics were impressive. Highlighted below are a few of this evening’s unfortunate tweets.
Thankfully, while several people were super mean on Twitter, many others made a point of congratulating VanderWaal and wishing her all the best for her future music career.
VanderWaal was not my top choice to win this season, but I would never, ever dream of insulting a preteen on social media. Contestants see what people tweet, and the harsh words they encounter can have a lasting impact. I just hope that VanderWaal is able to see past all the negativity and embrace the unique experience of being an America’s Got Talent victor. She should also think about the feedback that really matters: Simon Cowell thinks that she’s the next Kelly Clarkson!