In the finals, Grace competed with Sal Valentinetti (Singer), Blake Vogt (Magician), Edgar (Family Band), Lori Mae Hernandez (Stand-up Comedian), Musicality (A-cappella Group), Deadly Games (Extreme Knife Throwers), Tape Face (Mime), Jon Dorenbos (Magician), Malevo (Malambo Dance Group), Laura Bretan (Singer), Sofie Dossi (Aerialist Contortionist), Linkin' Bridge (Vocal group), The Clairvoyants (Mentalists), Brian Justin Crum (Singer), and Viktor Kee (Juggler). Valentinetti, The Clairvoyants, Crum, Dorenbos, and Grace went on to the Grand finale.
As with the semi-finals, most press-reports from the finale merely reports the facts and does not really add any independent impression or commentary. One however, went all in:
”She’s done it again, people! Grace VanderWaal took the stage at ‘America’s Got Talent’ on Sept. 13 for the last time before finding out who the big winner will be, and she absolutely crushed it! This girl is just amazing! America’s Got Talent has basically become the Grace VanderWaal show ever since Howie Mandel used his golden buzzer on her. And believe us, she’s earned it! Week after week she stuns the audience with her gorgeously sung originals that continue to amaze us. The final week was no different when she took the stage to perform her song “Clay.” Grace stood under a gorgeous canopy of pretty pink flowers on the misty stage while a full band played the music to the song she wrote. Meanwhile, sheshowed off her expert ukulele skills while belting out the emotional jam with that impressive gravelly voice. The touching song is all about how she isn’t clay that can be molded by someone else, she’s her own person! And she proves it time and time again: Grace is nothing short of an original! (Emy LaCroix for Hollywood Life, Sep. 13, 2016)
The principal on Grace’s school in Suffern also weighed in:
”Amazing Grace is all the rage in Wesley Hills and Suffern. … Grace Vanderwaal, 12, won over the “America’s Got Talent” audience with her soulful voice, her warm smile and her ukulele. Suffern Middle School Principal Brian Fox isn’t surprised. “It’s like the voice of an angel. I mean, I get goosebumps. I can tell you my whole family felt that way watching last night,” he said.Talented and grounded, Fox said of Grace. “I also give her a lot of credit because after she got the golden buzzer from Howie Mandel. She wanted to come back to school. She came back here to finish out the year,” he said.” (Sean Adams for CBS-local New York Sep. 15, 2016)
(Grace did actually go back to school straight after her win and found it a strange experience. In general, she does not appear to have fond memories of her time at Suffern Middle School)