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The Key To Winning: Being A Young Female Singer?

Kyle Montplaisir

Kyle Montplaisir

Disney Channel/Image Group LA

There seems to be a trend in talent shows right now. You don’t even have to be paying very close attention to notice it either! Let’s think about this week’s episode of America’s Got Talent for instance. Of the five acts that got voted through to the Semifinals, two of them were young female singers. On the most recent seasons of The Voice and American Idol, the show was won by similar artists. Brynn Cartelli became the youngest winner of The Voice at age 15. And Maddie Poppe, 20, was crowned the winner of American Idol over two teenage finalists. But this is hardly a new phenomenon! So, is being a young female singer be the key to winning? Let’s find out!


We’re going to start by going all the way back to season one of American Idol. No, not season one of the new American Idol on ABC, but season one of the original series (though there are some similarities). Kelly Clarkson became a breakout star after winning at age 20. Who could forget this moment?

From that point on, the path was paved for talent show winners to make a name for themselves. Specifically, young women have had the most success after their appearances. Carrie Underwood was only 21 when she appeared on American Idol too! And it seems like as time goes on, the talent has gotten younger and younger.


Let’s flash forward to the year after Carrie’s Idol win, 2006. America’s Got Talent debuted on NBC and the winner was…you guessed it! A young female singer, Bianca Ryan. She was only 11 years old at the time! The next season of American Idol in 2007 also followed suit, with Jordin Sparks becoming the youngest winner of the competition at 17. Then, when The X Factor came to the US, a certain trend continued. Melanie Amaro won the first season of the show at just 19 years old. The Voice had their first young female vocalist win in season four, when Danielle Bradbery took home the trophy at the age of 16.

That gives us all the highlights up until the past few years, when the trend has blown up again. Personally, I’d say Grace VanderWaal winning America’s Got Talent in 2016 was a turning point. And not only did she blow everyone away on the show, but she has had a super successful career since winning. This is especially true considering she’s only 14 years old! The fact that young female singers sell so well after these shows is probably why they continue to dominate. Not to mention that their talent is consistently insanely impressive!


Around the time Grace’s shows were airing, The Voice announced that it would lower its minimum age requirement to 13. Though the only 13-year-old who actually made it on a team was Quizz Swanigan, this was a bold move considering they still had to compete with older, more experienced singers. The Voice has since raised the requirement back to 15, the same as American Idol’s minimum age. But since moving to ABC, American Idol now has a maximum age of 28. They’re basically only trying to build up younger singers and got exactly what they wanted! All three finalists in the first season on ABC were under 21 years old.

Looking at how America’s Got Talent is shaping up this season, it’s very possible a young female singer will win this year. Three of the five Golden Buzzers in the auditions were given to teenage girls who sing! And I would argue to say that Amanda Mena, Courtney Hadwin, and Makayla Phillips are all front runners at this point. Plus, young girls have won the past two seasons of AGT: Grace VanderWaal and Darci Lynne Farmer! If history is any indication, it’s looking good for these singers.

So all in all, being a young female vocalist may not be the key to winning these shows…but it definitely doesn’t hurt! And that becomes especially true when talking about success after the show. I think it’s something about taking an untrained, inexperienced talent and turning them into a star. There’s no other story quite like it!

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About the Author

Kyle Montplaisir
Kyle Montplaisir is a contributor and host at Talent Recap. He is the lead detective for the site on 'The Masked Singer' and an encyclopedia of knowledge on 'The Voice' and 'American Idol'. A graduate of Pepperdine University, Kyle is originally from Arizona, but now lives in Los Angeles. When he isn’t watching talent shows and game shows, Kyle loves eating dessert, singing karaoke, and spending time with his wife, Hannah, and dog, Stella

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