Imagine you’re 12 years old and one thing stands between you and achieving your ultimate dream — America’s vote. Preteen ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer broke down in tears on Sept. 20 when America’s Got Talent host, Tyra Banks, announced Farmer as the Season 12 AGT winner. Farmer has continued to astound the judges and viewers from her first audition piece to her final performance. This tiny powerhouse made sure to bring not only her talent, but her infectious high-spirited personality as well.

Why take on the unique hobby of ventriloquism in the first place? According to Billboard, during Farmer’s first audition, she explained that she took on ventriloquism to overcome her shyness. “It was one of my big dreams, but also I would really like to keep ventriloquism alive because it’s not common,” said Farmer, after judge Simon Cowell asked her why she wanted to come onto AGT in the first place.

Through her two puppets, Petunia the sassy, diva-like rabbit, and Oscar, the nervous and shy mouse, who has had an ongoing crush on judge Mel B throughout the season, Farmer was able to win over the hearts of America. Whenever Farmer would step on stage with one or both of her puppets, she would appear as a shy, poised young girl; however, once she started performing, her true colors would shine as a funny, charismatic and talented preteen who can somehow sing without moving her lips or teeth. Farmer wouldn’t sing basic songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” rather the most impressing part of her talent is how she sang difficult songs such as her final performance, “With a Little Help From My Friends” by The Beatles. Yes, this 12-year-old girl sang both parts of the Beatles song, switching back and forth from the voice of Oscar, to the voice of Petunia, without moving her mouth once.

After competing in the final round, Farmer impressed the judges so much so that Cowell, known as AGT’s toughest critic, announced, “Tonight I just witnessed a star emerge, because you’re special, incredible, funny, talented and I think you’re going to win.” Try being one of the other performers who still had yet to take the stage after hearing Cowell’s praise for Farmer — talk about pressure.

Cowell’s prediction proved to be correct, as Farmer beat out runner-up 10-year-old singer, Angelica Hale. Some may believe it to be surprising that the two finalists were both so young, as they were up against a variety of talented performers; however, I think it was predictable. Voting for the AGT winner is left entirely up to America and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t vote for two cute, humble and personable little girls? Other finalists included: Singer/songwriter Mandy Harvey, 29, singer/songwriter Chase Goehring, 21, stand-up comedian Preacher Lawson, 25, Light-Balance dance group, 21-36, Sara and Hero, 22, Diavolo dance group, 21-39, singer Evie Clair, 13 and singer Kechi Okwuchi, 27.

During the finale, Farmer proved why she should be the one to take home the prize based off of her incredible performance and unmatched talent. Many of the performers, including runner-up Hale, had “sob” stories that attracted attention from both the audience and the judges throughout the season. Oftentimes the judges would comment about their “strength” or “courage” rather than their actual talent. Hale’s story includes details from her childhood when she almost died at age four. Hale had been diagnosed with double pneumonia and her kidneys shut down. She was saved by her mother, who donated her own kidney to save Hale. It’s remarkable that Hale is able to sing and perform today with so much confidence, however, I’m not positive she would have made it as far as she did had it not been for her miraculous story.

Another example of a brave history helping soar a performer to the finale is for singer Okwuchi. Okwuchi was involved in a plane accident and as a result has scarring and burns covering her body. Having the confidence to continue singing and performing shows her inner beauty and is a quality the judges immediately fell in love with rather than for her singing, which is simply average. Farmer, on the other hand, brought no sad history to the show. She only brought her two puppets, her talent and her infectious charm.

Farmer became the second ventriloquist to win AGT, after season two winner Terry Fator. The two ventriloquists even came together to perform the song, “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better),” during the finale. According to E! News, when Farmer was asked what she planned to do with her $1 million prize, she replied, “First thing’s first, I would love to give to my mission program at church. Secondly, I have to give my mom a dishwasher because ours doesn’t work and we need a new one. And then, I would love to get a puppy, like a baby pug. I just want one so bad … I’m so ready to take on the puppy life.”

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