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12-Year-Old Darci Lynne’s Vocals Were Beyond Her Years for Viral AGT Audition

In 2017 Lynne astonished AGT fans with her unique blend of ventriloquism, singing, and comedy.

By Jill Sederstrom

When Darci Lynne stepped out onto the America’s Got Talent stage for the first time, it was pure magic.

How to Watch

Watch America’s Got Talent Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC and next day on Peacock

In 2017 the pre-teen delivered a show-stopping performance that showed off her impressive vocals and ventriloquism skills, effortlessly combining humor with sheer undeniable talent. 

Her stunning performance, alongside her beloved pink puppet, Petunia, earned her Mel B's Golden Buzzer and launched a hugely successful career. Darci Lynne was not only crowned as the Season 12 winner, but she went on to headline the AGT show in Las Vegas, earned a spot as a frequent guest at the Grand Ole Opry, and even headlined her own 2018 NBC holiday special, Darci Lynne: My Hometown Christmas.

RELATED: Darci Lynne Hit Spellbinding High Notes Singing ABBA's "The Winner Takes It All"

The Oklahoma City native made a triumphant return to the AGT stage earlier this year in America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League with an Act that paid homage to her past while also honoring the artist she has become.

To see how it all began, let’s take a stroll down memory lane to revisit her first America’s Got Talent audition.

Darci Lynne performs "Summertime" by George Gershwin for AGT 12 Audition

Darci Lynne | Simon Cowell's Favorite Golden Buzzer Moments | NBC's AGT

Darci Lynne was just 12-years-old when she walked out onto the stage with Petunia, for her first audition on AGT, giggling to fight off her nerves.

“Darci, why did you both decide to enter the show?” Judge Simon Cowell asked the bubbly Oklahoma native and her hand puppet, a pink bunny dressed in a pink glittery gown.

“It was one of my big dreams, but also I would really like to keep ventriloquism alive because it’s not common, you know?” she replied. 

It was clear from the first few seconds of the act that Petunia would be taking center stage in the performance. 

“What? You’re going to sing? Oh boy,” Lynne remarked to the puppet as the first notes of the Gershwin classic “Summertime” began to play. 

The Judges and the audience were stunned the moment the youngster began to sing as Petunia, belting out powerhouse vocals well beyond her years while never moving her mouth. 

Cowell would later reflect on the feat while recounting his favorite moments from his time on the show.

“Honestly, I did think, on the day, ‘That wasn’t her singing,’” Cowell admitted to host Terry Crews. “Because I said, ‘It’s impossible to sing without opening your mouth.’”

After hitting the final high note, the Judges and crowd got to their feet, giving the pre-teen an enthusiastic standing ovation. The warm reception brought Lynne to tears, but she had an even bigger surprise in store for her when Mel B reflected on the Act. 

“You know what’s very sweet, your puppet, I’m guessing, is exactly like you, very charming and adorable. You make my heart melt. You were brilliant. I’m trying to describe how amazing it was. You know what?” she said before reaching over and slamming her Golden Buzzer. 

An emotional Lynne was immediately sent to the Lives, where she continued to be a fan favorite. She was crowned the winner and took home the season’s top honor — along with a $1 million prize — after an impressive final Act that combined comedy and had her singing with two puppets, each with their very own distinctive voice. 

Darci Lynne Takes a RISK with an Original, "Push Our Luck" | Semi-Finals | AGT: Fantasy League 2024

What is Darci Lynne doing now?

Today, the 19-year-old still hasn’t lost her love of entertaining.

She returned to AGT: Fantasy League in 2024 to prove once again that she’s still a world-class entertainer. 

Although she returned with Petunia, she  admittedly took a “risk” when she stepped away from the puppet to sing part of a high-energy rendition of “I’ve Got the Music in Me” without her famed sidekick. 

 “I feel like I have to, like, live up to what I did when I was 12. But I just don’t want to be put into a box and so for my performance tonight, I’m doing something different. I think people are gonna be surprised,” she explained on the show.

The move got mixed reviews from the Judges. While Heidi Klum proclaimed it an “absolutely fantastic” performance, Cowell and Mel B confessed they missed her more traditional blend of ventriloquism and comedy.

Lynne followed her heart and stepped out without her puppet altogether in her Live Show performance, but it wasn’t enough to earn her a spot in the Finals.

Darci Lynne's music covers

Darci Lynne SURPRISES the Judges with an UNEXPECTED Performance! | AGT: Fantasy League 2024 | NBC

When she isn’t returning to the stage that made her famous, Darci Lynne is impressing her fans with a series of phenomenal covers she often drops on Instagram that showcase her full vocal range. 

She’s shared her very own versions of everything from ABBA’s “The Winner Takes it All” to Chris Stapleton’s “Broken Halos.” She’s also tackled classic songs from Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Billie Holiday.