Juneau’s own Anna Graceman progressed to the semi finals of NBC’s America’s Got Talent last night, after flooring judges with her performance of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” in Hollywood.
The three judges — Howie Mandel, Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne — were effusive in their praise after Graceman’s performance, in which she accompanied herself on a grand piano.
“You’re just this little tiny peanut with this huge voice,” Osbourne said. “You’re just incredible.”
After Osbourne commented that the song choice was unusual one for a young girl, a visibly excited Mandel followed up with: “It is a wonderful world because we get in this world to listen to you and to get to know you."
“You are a phenomenon,” he said. “I have never seen or heard anything quite like you before. Now the acronym AGT goes for ‘Anna’s Got Talent.’”
Last to weigh in was Morgan.
“A 4-foot 4-inch, 11-year-old girl singing Louis Armstrong and singing it beautifully, that is America’s Got Talent.”
Graceman’s stellar performance in Hollywood came after a mixed review in Las Vegas. Though the audience seemed to love her rendition of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” the judges were distracted by a few wrong notes, and stressed that she’d have to distinguish herself in Hollywood to continue to the semi-finals. That she did.
Graceman became a national sensation after her first performance on the show, in which she performed Alicia Keyes’ “If I Ain’t Got You.” Her act stunned both the audience and the judges, who seemed completely unprepared for the power and soulfulness of her voice.
Graceman, who has performed locally at the Alaska Folk Festival, began playing piano at age four and composed her first song at age six. She appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show when she was 9, after representatives from the show saw her on YouTube. Her original song “Paradise” has had more than 880,000 views on the site.
“America’s Got Talent,” now in the seventh week of its sixth season, airs on Tuesday and Wednesdays on NBC. Previous episodes can be viewed online at www.nbc.com/americas-got-talent/video/categories/season-6/1330908.
To see Graceman’s “America’s Got Talent” performances on You Tube visit:
The winner of the show will receive a prize of $1 million.