In September 2017 Darci Lynne Farmer scored a triple triumph in the final show of the 12th season of America’s Got Talent. Not only did she become the third female to ever win the TV program’s top prize, but the third child act and the third ventriloquist. Farmer’s on-screen appearances saw her become an instant national sensation aged just 12. But whereas most kids would think about spending the show’s $1-million prize money on candy, comics and toys, the pint-sized puppeteer has some altogether more altruistic plans.
Born in Oklahoma City on October 12, 2004, Farmer was encouraged to take to the stage at the age of six. Her parents, Misty and Clarke, thought it would be an ideal way to battle her bashful nature. Subsequently, Farmer entered an International Cinderella Scholarship Pageant, and won its International Mini Miss title for 2013-14. It was during the final for this event that she was introduced to the art of ventriloquism by Laryssa Bonacquisti, a winner in a different category.
After Farmer had taught herself to speak without moving her lips, Misty and Clarke bought her a puppet – Katie the Cowgirl – for her tenth birthday. Making it her mission to bring a rejuvenating voice to the art of ventriloquism, Farmer won a local competition, Edmond’s Got Talent, after just a month’s rehearsals. She also worked with both a vocal and ventriloquism coach to hone her talents.
Farmer first showcased her skills to a much wider audience in 2016, when she appeared on NBC kid’s talent show Little Big Shots. But her career hit the big time a year later when she auditioned for America’s Got Talent. Performing a duet of George Gershwin’s “Summertime” with Petunia, her rabbit puppet, Farmer became an instant hit.
The tweenager zoomed all the way to the quarter finals after judge Mel B decided her act was worthy of advancement via the show’s Golden Buzzer. In her first live show, Farmer serenaded the former Spice Girl with a rendition of Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Loving’ You” accompanied by a stuttering mouse puppet called Oscar. All four America’s Got Talent judges felt compelled by her performance to give the little girl a standing ovation.
Unsurprisingly, the audience at home felt similarly. They voted Farmer through to the semi-finals, where she performed Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” Joined by her puppet Edna Doorknocker, who flirted with judge Simon Cowell during the routine, Farmer once again received a standing ovation for her efforts. And, just like before, she sailed through to the next round – the final.
Farmer pulled out all the stops for the grand event. Firstly, she brought out both Oscar and Petunia to give her a wee bit of assistance in performing The Beatles’ classic “With a Little Help from My Friends.” Secondly, she joined her mentor, previous America’s Got Talent winner Terry Fator, to sing “Anything You Can Do” from the musical Annie Get Your Gun. Farmer successfully made the last five and was then announced as one of the last two finalists in the competition.
Incredibly, Farmer’s fellow finalist was even younger than she was. Indeed, singer Angelica Hale, who had performed alongside Kelly Clarkson in the final show, was aged just ten. This meant America’s Got Talent would be guaranteed a third pre-teen winner. The winner would follow Bianca Ryan after her victory in the inaugural season in 2006, and Grace VanderWaal a decade later.
But it was Farmer who was crowned triumphant by host Tyra Banks in a final which attracted a staggering 52 million votes. The victorious ventriloquist was rewarded with four consecutive headline shows at Las Vegas’ Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. She also became an instant millionaire, thanks to the seven-figure cash prize that’s awarded to each America’s Got Talent winner.
Understandably, the little girl from Oklahoma was totally overcome with emotion following her victory. In an interview with showbiz show Entertainment Tonight shortly after her win, Farmer ’fessed up to shedding lots of tears. She said, “It just means so much to me that America voted for me, and I get to see all my friends and family supporting me and crying with me.”
However, Farmer does not seem to have allowed her quick rise to fame go to her head. Whereas most kids her age would think of instantly splashing the cash on themselves, the young ventriloquist revealed to Entertainment Tonight that she has more altruistic intentions. And one of her plans had the potential to change her mother’s washing up habits forever.
Indeed, Farmer revealed that one of her first purchases would be a dishwasher for Misty. The America’s Got Talent victor also said she wanted to donate some money to her church’s mission program back in Oklahoma. However, Farmer does have at least one must-have in mind for herself – although she still has to get permission from her parents first.
Chatting to entertainment website E! Online, Farmer said she hoped that her family would soon have an adorable new four-legged addition. “I would love to get a pug,” she revealed. “A puppy, a baby pug. I just want one so bad. I’m ready… I’m ready to take on the puppy life.”
Farmer was also refreshingly gracious about her fellow America’s Got Talent finalist, Angelica Hale. She told Entertainment Tonight, “I’m so overcome with joy that she was with me in the top two. It was really, really hard for her to not get a happy ending… But she’s so happy for me. And it makes me feel good that she’s supporting me.”
Farmer’s mentor, Terry Fator, told Billboard magazine that he was almost as emotional as the little girl after her victory. He gushed, “I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her. It took me a heck of a lot longer to achieve that kind of notoriety, but I’m so proud of her. I felt like a proud dad.”
Farmer spoke to Entertainment Tonight about how much she would miss the experience of performing on America’s number-one TV talent show. She said, “The people, the staff, the contestants – everyone is so kind and it’s just been so much fun. I’m so sad it’s ending.”
But the Darci Lynne Farmer story does not end there. Shortly after her victory on America’s Got Talent, the young star appeared on daytime TV institution The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Farmer is also scheduled to join acappella group Pentatonix on their NBC holiday special, A Very Pentatonix Christmas.
The ventriloquist also gave a unique performance at a soccer game hosted by Oklahoma club OKC Energy. The unique element being that Farmer performed solo – without a puppet in sight. She sang the National Anthem at her home team’s Taft Stadium. Farmer told teen celebrity website Just Jared Jr. that she found the experience even more nerve-wracking than her America’s Got Talent stint.
And, of course, there are the impending Las Vegas headline shows. Farmer will take to the Planet Hollywood stage for four consecutive nights in November 2017. She will receive support on the Strip from her fellow America’s Got Talent finalists Light Balance, Preacher Lawson and Angelica Hale.
But Farmer is already something of a Las Vegas veteran. The youngster told Just Jared Jr. that she has previously competed in several national pageants in the city. They have obviously whetted her appetite for performing in the City of Lights. When the website asked her about the idea of headlining her very own Vegas show, Farmer replied, “That would be pretty cool.” Watch this space…