Look at that! Howie Mandel touched her! He didn't recoil in fright from her germs, he actually hugged her! She was his Golden Buzzer choice, and said at the time that she could be "bigger than Taylor Swift."
He also said of VanderWaal:
The most amazing thing about Grace is that you haven't heard anybody who sounds like her. You haven't heard any lyrics from somebody that is like her, and we've been saying to her, you are the most unique, brightest star to come out of one of these shows.
But don't just take Howie Mandel's word for it. During the season, VanderWaal got to meet the Queen of Fringe and Twirling, Stevie Nicks, who heaped upon the high praise:
I have been watching this show from the very beginning. I have to say she reminds me a lot of me in a lot of ways. We sing very similar…we like to be weird and perky and we like to be a little different…and not like anybody else. . . She's got it. Whatever happens, Grace is going to the top.
VanderWaal's win means she gets (*Dr. Evil voice*) one million dollars and also the chance to headline a show in Las Vegas. She already knows what she'll be doing with the money—she told People that she'll give part of it to charity (probably a music charity), and added, "but I want to go on Treehouse Masters and I want to get a treehouse." #2017Goals.
Here's her final performance on the show, singing an original song called "Clay."