America’s Got Talent season 12 has just started but there already might be a frontrunner. The opening hour of season 12 bolted out of the gate, showing off some incredible talents. The premiere was capped off by the first Golden Buzzer of the season and 12-year-old Darci Lynne has a one-way trip to the live shows. Darci is adorable and extremely talented but her act should be more than a little familiar to America’s Got Talent fans.

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Taken in a vacuum, Darci’s singing ventriloquism is extraordinary. Darci has a beautiful singing voice without even having to move her lips. Yet America’s Got Talent has already seen a singing ventriloquist and one that has a lot of success. America’s Got Talent season 2 winner Terry Fator used the same shtick as Darci and climbed all the way to the top. Terry has also become one of, if not the, biggest success stories of America’s Got Talent. Because Darci is following Terry, even if it is ten years after the fact, her act hits just a little bit softer than usual. 

It’s true that ventriloquists have struggled in the wake of Terry’s success on America’s Got Talent. They can do well but it wasn’t until season 10 that another puppet master managed to come out on top with Paul Zerdin. Ventriloquism, because it is a less popular talent than magic or singing, will always be compared to the previous America’s Got Talent successes. Darci is making things even more difficult for herself by fitting into the same niche as Terry. Yet even with all that going against her Darci still stands a chance at winning. She might not be revolutionary but she can still win.

Terry was an amazing impressionist as well as ventriloquist but he never really had his own voice while singing. Terry does singing impressions which are great but they don’t show off much of his own singing talent. Darci, on the other hand, is putting on a voice while singing. It is the voice of a puppet but it is a voice Darci has created. 

The singing voice is just as unique as the talking voice of the puppet. This alone makes her special because Paul Zerdin pretty much did the same voice for all his puppets. Yet Darci doesn’t just have a special voice for her puppet, it is an amazing singing voice. America’s Got Talent has had much, much worse singers who use their entire mouths than Darci and her puppet. The puppet is really just cute icing on an already talented cake. It is because of that icing and what it represents that Darci might win. 

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Darci has a great and winning America’s Got Talent story. She is an adorable 12-year-old girl that doesn’t have a hint of annoying preciousness in her. She was genuine and heart-breakingly cute in all her interactions with the judges. Once her story is added on to the mix, though, she is a winner. Darci told the judges (and the audience) that she was once painfully shy. It’s not until she got her puppet from her mom that she was able to open up. With that kind of backstory America’s Got Talent might as well just crown her the champion already. 

A good and heartwarming story is just as important to doing well on America’s Got Talent as the actual talent. There are some exceptions. Paul Zerdin won over the much more obvious underdog of Drew Lynch. Jon Dorenbos, whose father murdered his mother, came in third place in season 11. By and large, if an act can charm the audience while not on stage, they stand a very good shot at winning. Darci, just by being herself, can charm people and that’s why even though she might not be totally original, she is still a strong frontrunner for season 12. 

But what do you think of Darci’s chances? Can a third ventriloquist win America’s Got Talent? Do you think that Darci even deserved the Golden Buzzer that she received? 

America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on NBC. Want more news? Like our America’s Got Talent Facebook page.

(Image and video courtesy of NBC)