TV & Movies

'America's Got Talent': Who Is the Youngest Person Ever to Win?

America’s Got Talent, one of the most popular talent search programs in the country, has been on the air for more than ten years. Since 2006, it has introduced viewers to a plethora of groups and individuals with skills beyond belief. And unlike other similar TV shows, there are no age limits on America’s Got Talent. As such, we have seen a diverse range of amazing contestants from young children to senior citizens.

Since anyone can show off their talent regardless of age, this also has got many fans wondering: who currently holds the record for being the youngest person to have ever won the show? 

The youngest winner ever was Bianca Ryan

In the first season, the world watched as 11-year-old Bianca Ryan wow everyone with her extraordinary soulful voice. During her audition, she sang a rendition of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from the musical Dreamgirls, earning her praises from the judges, who could not believe that such a voice could come from a girl her age. Judge Brandy even called Bianca her “favorite contestant in this competition.”

Bianca Ryan went on to the semifinals, where she performed the 1960’s hit “Piece of My Heart” by Erma Franklin and eventually winning the public vote. In the final round, she sang another song from Dreamgirls, “I Am Changing”, which earned her a standing ovation from the audience as well as a prediction from Piers Morgan that she could actually win the whole show.

On August 17, 2006, Bianca Ryan was crowned the first winner of America’s Got Talent. Even after thirteen seasons, the Philadelphia native to this day still holds the title of youngest winner ever in the competition.

Her life and career after winning the show

A few months after winning America’s Got Talent, Bianca Ryan released her first album, which mostly included covers of hit songs such as “The Rose” by Bette Midler and “I Believe I can Fly” by R. Kelly. The album charted at number 57 in the U.S. and sold 200,000 copies worldwide.

In the next several years, she went on to release multiples singles as well as two Christmas albums, though none of them managed to chart in the U.S. In 2015, she even started her own record label, Bianca Ryan Records, and began to release songs independently. 

Unfortunately, in 2016, Bianca had to put her career on hold when a doctor told her that one of her vocal cords was paralyzed and that she was at a high risk for esophageal cancer. Ryan got surgery to fix the problem, knowing that there was a chance she might not be able to sing again. Despite this setback, though, the surgery was a success and, once she recovered, she was perfectly able to continue belting out more songs for everyone.

In January of 2019, Bianca Ryan competed in the spin-off America’s Got Talent: The Champions against other notable contestants in the program’s history as well as in a few international Got Talent franchises. She got a standing ovation for her performance of “Say Something” by A Great Big World, but she did not progress to the final.

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I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection since AGT champions airing and all of the support pouring in and kind words ❤️ I’ve been seeing so much growth! I’m beginning to not only just see myself for who I am now, but to look in the mirror at who I can be in time and with hard work and patience ❤️ – @mikeleddyphotography

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Nevertheless, she got to release a new EP, called Part I – The Reintroduction, featuring some recent singles as well as her rendition of “Say Something” as heard on America’s Got Talent: The Champions.

Aside from singing, Bianca Ryan also has her own makeup line, called Ciao Bianca Ryan, which launched in December of 2018.

Other young winners of ‘America’s Got Talent’

Bianca Ryan might have been the youngest winner, but she was not the only kid who has managed to win the show before reaching her teenage years.

In 2016, another singing superstar, Grace VanderWaal, became a winner at the age of 12. The following year, 12-year-old ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer brought home the crown. 

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