America’s Got Talent, one of the most popular talent search programs in the country, has been on the air for over ten years. Since 2006, it has introduced viewers to an abundance of groups and individuals with unbelievable skills. And unlike other similar TV shows, there are no age limits on America’s Got Talent. As such, we have seen a wide range of great participants, from young children to seniors.
Because everyone can show off their talent regardless of their age, this has also left many fans wondering: who currently has the reputation of being the youngest person to ever win the show?
The youngest winner ever was Bianca Ryan
In the first season, the world watched as the 11-year-old Bianca Ryan wow everyone with her extraordinary soulful voice. During her audition she sang a rendition of “And I Am Counting You I’m Not Going” from the musical Dreamgirls, earning her praise from the judges, who could not believe that such a voice would be from a girl her age can come. Judge Brandy even called Bianca her ‘favorite participant in this competition’.
Bianca Ryan went on to the semi-finals, where she performed the 1960’s hit “Piece of My Heart” by Erma Franklin and eventually won the public vote. In the final round, she sang a song from Dreamgirls, “I Am Changing,” which gave her a standing ovation from the audience and a prediction from Piers Morgan that she could really win the entire show.
On August 17, 2006, Bianca Ryan became the first winner of America’s Got Talent. Even after thirteen seasons, the indigenous Palestinian is still the title of youngest winner ever in the competition to this day.
Her life and career after winning the show
A few months after winning America’s Got Talent, Bianca Ryan released her first album, which mainly included covers of hit songs such as “The Rose” by Bette Midler and “I Believe I can Fly” by R. Kelly. The album has been charted at number 57 in the United States and has sold 200,000 copies worldwide.
In the following years, she released multiples singles and two Christmas albums, but none of them managed to map in the US. In 2015, she even started her own record label, Bianca Ryan Records, and started releasing songs independently.
Unfortunately, Bianca had to postpone her career in 2016 when a doctor told her that one of her vocal cords was paralyzed and that she was at high risk for esophageal cancer. Ryan had surgery to solve the problem, knowing that there was a chance that she might not be able to sing anymore. Despite this setback, the operation was a success and when she recovered, she was perfectly able to continue more songs for everyone.
In January 2019, Bianca Ryan participated in America’s Got Talent: The Champions spin-off against other notable participants in the program’s history and also in some international Got Talent franchises. She received a standing ovation for her performance of “Say Something” by A Great Big World, but she did not reach the final.
Nevertheless, she was allowed to release a new EP, called Part I – The Reintroduction, with some recent singles and her rendition of ‘Say Something’ as heard on America’s Got Talent: The Champions.
In addition to singing, Bianca Ryan also has her own makeup line, called Ciao Bianca Ryan, which was launched in December 2018.
Other young winners of ‘America’s Got Talent’
Bianca Ryan was perhaps the youngest winner, but she was not the only one to win the show before reaching her teenage years.
In 2016, another singing superstar, Grace VanderWaal, became the winner at the age of 12. The following year, 12-year-old belly speaker Darci Lynne Farmer brought the crown home.