Has “America’s Got Talent” found its next Darci Lynne Farmer? During Tuesday’s Season 14 premiere, judges Simon Cowell, Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough discovered a shy teenage singer named Sophie Pecora who performed her original song “7th Grade” with her trusty guitar. Sophie’s audition instantly reminded us of Darci Lynne, the singing ventriloquist from Season 12 who stole America’s heart (and won the $1 million prize) with her raw talent. Watch Sophie’s “AGT” performance video above.
“I’ve always loved singing,” Sophie said in her pre-taped video package. “I used to pretend I was on stage and sing songs in front of the mirror. But growing up, I was a little shy and quiet so I felt very insecure when trying to make friends. So I started posting YouTube videos. I really wanted to relate to people and express my feelings. I started posting my own original songs, but back then I think I probably had like eight views.”
This admittedly “nervous” 15-year-old from California decided to sing “7th Grade” for her audition, a song that she wrote about her own “experiences at school.” Sophie remarked, “I think a lot of people have gone through some form of bullying. I really want to make it clear that everyone experiences it. It’s not you. You’re not alone.”
Following Sophie’s performance of her original song, which included rap and spoken word, the judges gave her a rousing standing ovation. Gabrielle announced, “You are so young, but you spoke to me and I’m 46.” Howie called her “really unique” and “really relatable.” Julianne added, “I thought it was brilliant.” And Simon raved, “You have this delivery which is really cool. I like you a lot.”
In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty had this to say about the performance: “Singer-songwriter Sophie Pecora was up next to perform an original song called ‘7th Grade’ written by her about school bullying. The 15 year old took the stage with her acoustic guitar and wowed the judges with her rap-sung performance. The verses of her song were presented in rap format, something Howie found to be unique and relatable at the same time. In fact, Gabrielle even said that the song spoke to her as a 47 year old and Julianne also thought it resonated really well. Once again it was a unanimous decision to send Sophie through to the next round.”