America's Got Talent: Precocious Child Singing!

As a general rule, I’ve got a “no me gusta” policy on pre-teens who produce big, brassy voices when they open their mouths to sing. At best, I find these pint-sized contradictions to be disconcerting, and at worst, they strike me as positively creepy. But 11-year-old Anna Graceman, breakout star of Tuesday night’s America’s Got Talent audition episode, is actually pretty charming. That’s not to say I’m in any way interested in buying a full CD of the kid covering grown-up Alicia Keys ballads, but I’m also not worried I’ll wake up one stormy night and find her glowing eyes peering through my skylight, chanting for her demon overlord to come wisk me away to my disfiguring death. (Too dark? Sorry…AGT brings out my inner Wes Craven.) Watch Anna’s audition below, then hit the comments and tell us what you think of her skills. (Slezak on Twitter: @MichaelSlezakTV)

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jacob says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds kids on this show kind of creepy. Sure she sings well, but why? Why expose your child to something like this so early on? If Susan Boyle taught us anything is that sometimes, talent isn’t directly proportional to the ability to handle fame, and I think in most cases, children are incredibly incapable of handling it. I dunno. This show bothers me in that regard, because it feels like exploitation. I know the intentions are good, but I can’t get behind these phenom children. It just feels wrong.

    • lipsticksocialism says:

      i agree wholeheartedly. can’t we just wait for them to grow up and then they can do whatever they want?

  2. Jamie says:

    “…but I’m also not worried I’ll wake up one stormy night and find her glowing eyes peering through my skylight, chanting for her demon overlord to come wisk me away to my disfiguring death.”

    I just fell in love with you Michael Slezak!

  3. JennieO says:

    I’ve know this little girl and her family practically since her birth. She was in my son’s class until about a year ago, when they moved away. You would never have known by seeing her at school that she was anything but a regular kid — she is not a “show” kid by any means. We knew she was musically inclined, but when we first saw her perform at a local music festival a few years ago, we were astonished by her performance. She writes her own music and it is creative and age-appropriate. She is a very ordinary, down-to-earth kid, with non-pushy, loving parents. I know that when you see a child performing on a show like this, the tendency is to think that they are being exploited, but with Anna, music is truly her passion.

    • Adam Levine says:

      My name is JennieO, and I know (psuedo) celebrities…

    • lipsticksocialism says:

      I appreciate your perspective. I just don’t understand why she has to go on a show like this so soon. Couldn’t she continue to be passionate about her music without getting national exposure? I’m sure there are a lot of music activities she could do alongside her school and playdates, until she’s old enough to pursue music professionally? There are plenty of great singers who didn’t become famous as teens. I just don’t see what the rush is. If she has real passion, it won’t disappear.

      • cmp says:

        Whose to say she’s going to jump right into a recording a career and turn out like Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, etc. or some other child star gone wrong? Perhaps the money she wins will be put away for college or other future endeavors that will better prepare her as an adult for show biz? She is amazingly talented and what’s even better is she doesn’t come across like some pre-manufactured, obnoxious Disney kid. She does seem grounded and simply, a prodigy. I wish her luck and look forward to her subsequent performances on AGT.

        • lipsticksocialism says:

          Yes, there are exceptions to the child-star-debacles, but I would say that they are still the oddity rather than the rule. And when it comes to a child’s life and development, I feel it’s wiser to err on the side of caution. She might as well prove to be the exception, and if she does, kudos to her and her parents. However, it might also turn out the opposite way, and that’s sad. I don’t believe the way she seems now is any indication of how she will turn out. Fame/notoriety is a drug. Lindsay Lohan seemed perfectly simple and grounded when she was 11 and doing the Parent Trap. But I wish her well, and hope she has sensible parents.

      • emma says:

        that is very wrong to say . it is never wrong to discover who you are at 11. we live in a real world forget you

  4. alicia says:

    The little girl’s really good. I do agree with you that maybe a show in Vegas is NOT the best thing for tweens, but prehaps she could use the fame to get an awesome vocal coach who brings her back into the public eye at 18 with an incredible powerhouse of a voice.

  5. Danielle Notaro says:

    She’s good. So is other little girl Heather Russell.

  6. Fernando says:

    I agree about how creepy some of these kids can be. And I don’t think any 11-year-old needs a show in Vegas. But I thought she was really good and managed not to be creepy. I even thought she seemed to connect with her song better than this year’s “Idol” contestants did all season.

  7. marie says:

    Full disclosure: I don’t watch this show. But I have to comment because one reason I DON’T watch this show, and why I’m wary of Simon Cowell’s upcoming X Factor, is because I really have zero interest in precocious child performers. The other day, PBS ran a “Great Performances” show starring Jackie Evancho, the pubescent “opera singer” who emerged I believe from AGT. I have been listening to opera all my life, and like the first commenter here, all I can say is Why? Little kids do not have the life experience to become effective singers, “effective” covering emotion, maturity, singing and performing experience, and simple polished technique. I have ZERO interest in these kids other than to glance and say, Isn’t that odd, and perhaps shudder. No thanks. (Than again, I even wish Idol had a minimum age of 18 or so.)

    • DL says:

      Normally, I’d agree with you on the life experience part, but if you watch this girl’s performance, it’s undeniable she connects with the song. I don’t know how, but she sings with far more pathos than vocalists twice her age. But yeah, she’s by far the exception and not the rule.

      • lipsticksocialism says:

        my addition to the conversation is even if she does connect with the song and can pull it off, WHERE IS THE RUSH? I don’t see why she can’t have a regular childhood before going into showbiz. Showbiz is hard for a grown-up, let alone a small kid, and there seems to be no compelling reason not to err on the side of caution when it comes to little kids and their emotional sanity. I wish someone had done that for Britney Spears when she was her age.

    • Yo says:

      I agree and don’t watch AGT for similar reasons (I also don’t like sword swallowers and contortionists; I’m no fun at the circus). Jackie Evancho followed me around on no less than four different PBS stations the other night and, although I know she is talented, she weirded me out so much I turned off the television.

  8. Ben says:

    She looks like Elizabeth Mitchell

  9. syb says:

    I liked her better the most, because she seemed much more into just singing and playing than so many of those little robotic tween contest veterans with preternatural voices. But if she were 21, I don’t think anybody would have thought much of her.

  10. darclyte says:

    She was ok, but she’s no Jackie Evancho.
    At her age, she’s pretty talented and could have a bright future ahead of her. She does seem to play the piano well, and has a decent voice for her age…but it’s just that…for her age.
    I hate to compare them, but since they’re both around the same age and both appeared on AGT, it’s hard not to.
    Jackie is a force of nature and a freak of nature (in a good way.) Barring something completely bizarre, Jackie could wind up being one of the greatest singers of all time.
    This girl suffers from having to “follow” Jackie on the show that really launched her career.
    She’s pleasant enough but Jackie REALLY set the bar REALLY high.
    Someone should pair her up with Grayson Chance and send them out on tour together.

    • ugh! says:

      And the obsessed Evancho fan has spoken. Seriously, the number of middle aged men who adore Jackie and go from site to site singing her praises is frightening. Some of them even claim to know the exact moment she hit puberty. *shudders* You are a freak of nature, and not in a good way. Stop obsessing over a preteen girl and seek help!

      • John says:

        Are you jealous, stupid or just sick-minded? Go look up the term prodigy. Jackie is not performing ahead of where she is supposed to be. She is GIFTED and as such, is performing right where she belongs. And as far as your assertion that her grown male fans have some sick attachment to her, that demonstrates your own sick mind and need for professional help. You disgust me.

      • Anwaar says:

        Yeah? And what’s your point. since you posted here what’s your opinion of Anna Graceman or did you even have a point to make….

  11. fan says:

    A friend of mine ran across a video of her on YouTube….she has such a Passion for what she is doing and me personally I think that is why she connects like she does…I get chills everytime I hear her…my 6 yr old son as well as my preteen daughter n 8 yr old daughter all enjoy listening to her…I can not wait to see where she ends up she will be I.teresting to watch as time goes on….and I have to agree she is a Lil tout for a show in Vegas but maybe that is something…agt producers should consider…a different type of prize based on age.

  12. Lisa says:

    I think she’s fantastic. The show is a platform to showcase her talent. Now, the talent scouts that matter know who she is. Her age & Vegas doesn’t matter. The guy who hates kids is a moron. He was a kid at one time. I’m guessing he was always picked last for everything.

    • lipsticksocialism says:

      I don’t see how wanting to protect children from exploitation makes one a child-hater? And while not all child stars are exploited, many are, and it seems wiser to err on the side of caution than hope for the best. This girl is going to sound just as amazing at 18 as she does now, she’ll have plenty of time to do a Vegas show when she’s older. She only has ONE childhood. Didn’t Britney Spears start in Star Search?

  13. Jacques says:

    I always wondered why ‘AGT’ doesn’t refuse singers. I mean: we’ve got American Idol, The Voice & X Factor for those who can sing. WHY OH WHY do we need singers in AGT? There are plenty of people with weird, funny, spectacular acts who don’t have a show, and AGT is the perfect platform for them. And yes, those shows maybe have an age limit or minimum age, but 11 year old girls should be in school. I mean: if she still has this voice in 5 years, she could have easily auditioned on one of the other shows mentioned above. So for me: kick out the singers!

    But back to Anna: yeah she can sing. But I wasn’t THAT impressed.

  14. schmozlo says:

    Child musical prodigies don’t creep me out. Mozart was one. Look what he left us. Let’s have more prodigies.

  15. porsche930turb0 says:

    Hi Everybody, last season I saw Michael Grimm audition and right away I predicted he was going to be the winner,Anna Graceman is clearly a child prodigy,as was Micheal Jackson,look for her to win this seasons competion, every once in a lifetime does entertainer with her talents come along, and clearly all 3 judges know that

    • claudia says:

      I felt the same way about Michael although I thought he would be runner-up to Prince Poppycock. But Anna? I thought her voice was mediocre. If she was 18 I don’t think she would have advanced to Vegas. She just isn’t unique or good enough.
      And if her family is normal & non-pushy as someone upthread said, why are they letting her have this exposure so young? Is it because they know she doesn’t have a strong voice & the appeal will be minimal when she gets older?

  16. David P. Cooper says:

    I think it’s rich, all you people saying that young entertainers should just wait to begin to perform. When? When should they begin? At what point are they ready? What great music might have been lost if Mozart’s parents had waited to let him start touring, after all he was much younger than the kids in these shows are when he got his start (age 5). So, leave them alone, get out of their way, and let them be themselves. I and many like me, on the other hand, relish the thought that a future world will be filled with music because these kids are honing their craft today.

  17. Kevin C. says:

    My rule of thumb: If you have to stick the words “for a” in your praise of someone’s performance, it’ll do well on America’s got talent, and I probably won’t like it.

    “She’s pretty good…for an 10 year old!”
    “He’s not that bad a singer…for a chicken chaser!”

  18. Steve D. says:

    I am shocked by all the negative commenters on here. People said the same bullcrap about Jackie Evancho,who,s new cd is #2 on the charts. Anna is talented NOW. The vegas headline is a one night tour. If you jealous trolls don,t have anything positive to say about this talented,sweet little girl,then STFU.You should be ashamed of yourselves. I hope this exceptional child doesn,t read your disgusting comments.It would break her little heart. You people disgust me!

  19. Stephanie says:

    This is the first time I’ve watched this show from when I stopped watching in Season 1, when that little 4-year-old girl who COULD NOT SING kept getting pushed through because she was cute and could remember the words. It ticked me off to no avail. I’m the first one to say “grow up a little” but this girl seems different to me. I’m betting she asked her parents to audition, and wanted to, and they said sure. I do a lot of theatre and can spot a Stage Mom a mile away. Her parents didn’t seem like them, and probably were almost hoping she’d not go through because it would be a life lesson that you don’t always get cast. She went through, she probably won’t win, but it will give her an experience either way. She seems able to handle it, and talented enough to give it a shot.

  20. Mackenzie says:

    I know that everyone commenting has been discussing this in a very serious manner, but SHE IS SO FREAKIN’ CUTE! I just can’t stand it. And, she is a great singer!

  21. Gregg says:

    Anna Graceman has far more talent than this short audition shows. She a composer, a lyricist, as well as an amazing singer. Music for Anna is not a fad, or a phase in her life that she will grow out of, it’s a passion. I don’t think she’s in this for the fame. She wants to share her talent with the world. I’m all for supporting our youths’ development in whatever skills they possess, and if we stifle their creativity early, we all lose! FWIW, I am still a Bianca Ryan fan!!

  22. Michael says:

    You people are SERIOUSLY lacking perspective on this brilliant prodigy if you haven’t visited Anna’s YouTube channel. It’s under the user name AnnaGraceMusic. You will all be astonished to discover the depth of Anna Graceman’s own, original music and lyrics. Please get a better idea of what she is all about by doing so before you base most of your comments and judgement on her performing a cover song in a talent competition. It’s only being fair to her, plus it’ll shed abundant light on the subject of whether she should be be involved in AGT. There are a lot of songs there and many have very high production values which truly do Anna’s awe inspiring talents justice. I also believe you will be impressed by her performances and even her mentality as she comments on some of the songs. Get the big picture on Anna Grace and see that she is in a class of her own; all things considered.

  23. Dan-o says:

    Wow- a lot of people defining what a “normal” childhood should be. Like thiers were normal- yeah, right!. Let the kid do her thing and quit being so paranoid about the motives. She seems OK to me.

  24. KRAE says:


  25. David says:

    It’s always people that have no talent that object when a young person displays their talent their comments are rooted in jealousy and envy. These kids deserve the opportunity and a responsible parent would provide all opportunities and control the environment stop the hating and enjoy all talents even young peoples

  26. Wayne says:

    Mainly,, famous people in the singing business don’t like a kid that can sing better than they can. People loved Jackie and she didn’t win in my opinion because she was too good and the person who won took his million and couldn’t even sell a record. These shows are so rigged I don’t watch it any longer. There is nothing creepy about them except they are talented and most people like to watch them or did until now.

  27. claudia says:

    I hope Michael bans you. Get lost creep & sell your trash elsewhere.