Darci Lynne Returns to 'AGT' With an Exciting Twist She Calls Darci 2.0

Petunia, Darci Lynne

Some America’s Got Talent winners are more popular with the fans than others, and one of the most popular over the years has been Darci Lynne, who won season 12 of AGT when she was just 12 years old with her ventriloquist act. Darci’s popularity resulted in her own NBC Christmas special, Darci Lynne: My Hometown Christmas; several cross-country tours; appearances on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows; and roles in two films, A Cowgirl’s Song and Reagan.

So, when America was voting for which 40 acts they would like to see return to compete on America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League, Darci Lynne’s name was high on that list and she agreed to do it because at 19 years old, she’s made some changes that she’d like to demonstrate to the AGT audience.

Related: America’s Got Talent Winner Darci Lynne Farmer Talks Petunia, Performing, and Puppies

“I don’t come on and do the same old thing that I’ve done for seven years now,” she tells Parade in this exclusive interview. “I definitely come out and do something different that not everyone has seen me do. It’s a new side of me, like Darci 2.0, who is Darci at 19? So, I went on with the intention of showing a different side of myself."

There’s still ventriloquism involved, and she will be performing with Petunia, but the Oklahoma native says the twist is something people aren’t going to expect.

“I can’t give too much away, but it’s exciting,” she says. “I’m excited.”

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And, of course, if you think about it, what worked for Darci Lynne at 12 wouldn’t work for her now that she’s an adult, so her act had to mature along with her.

“The puppets have grown up with me I guess you could say, but not in any crude way,” she reassures us. “My demographic and the people that follow me, it’s super multi-generational and I love that, especially kids, too. So, I still keep it pretty family friendly, but yeah, I would say definitely my material’s grown up with me.”

Also, during our Zoom chat, Darci Lynne filled us in on how this Fantasy League version of AGT is different, and about her life after winning, including her budding music and acting careers, and how she spent her $1 million prize money.

<p>Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC</p>

Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

This is a little bit different than regular AGT, you’re on one of the judge’s teams and they’re mentoring you. Talk a little bit about how this experience has been different.

Well, it’s been really different, the structure and the layout of the show is different. When I was on the show when I was 12, we’d perform on Tuesday night and then we’d have to wait a whole day, till Wednesday night, to find out if we went through or not. It was strange to perform and then find out that very night if you went through, it was really different. I will say it’s been different but it’s been super fun, the whole being on a judge’s team twist has been super fun.

Related: Simon Cowell Reveals Which Fellow Judge from Fantasy League Is On His $#%^ List

When you were 12 and you were first on AGT, you had a co-writer help you create your act, and the humor was so great. Now that you’re 19, do you do it all yourself or do you still use co-writers?

I definitely don’t do it all on my own. All of the material that I do with my puppets is super collaborative. I’ve had several people come in and help me, especially when I was younger because I had no idea what I was doing. As far as their gimmicks go, their personality and their character traits and the way they say things, that all comes from me because I created them, but the material, yeah, I definitely had some help.

My parents especially, they’re super funny, they have great ideas. My brothers have weighed in, I’ve worked with Terry Fator with comedy material. My ventriloquist coach Gary Owen, Nancy Berk, lives in Pittsburgh and she’s an awesome writer too, so lots of people have come in and helped support me in that way.

What has life been like since you won AGT. Do you tour a lot? Career-wise, how has winning been a plus for you?

Oh, my gosh. Well, it changed my life completely. I went on the road first thing when I turned 13 after the show, and I traveled to all 50 states before I turned 18. I’ve done three different tours, shows, over the last seven years since I won, so it’s been an incredible ride so far. I’ve gotten to do amazing, amazing things. I’ve reached so many people with this out-of-the-box talent, it’s been amazing. And now I have the luxury of exploring other avenues of entertainment like writing music, that’s something I’ve come to be really, really passionate about, so I’m really on that road right now.

Are you doing performances, not tonight on AGT necessarily, but in the real world, are you doing performances without your puppets just as a singer?

Oh, yeah. I sang even before I started ventriloquism. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, and so I’ve always sung with my mouth open, too. In my shows over the years, I sing solo and it’s just as fulfilling, and I love it, and so I’m hoping that once I get some music out, I can connect to people in that way, too, because it’s really fun.

<p>Courtesy: Samuel Goldwyn Films</p>

Courtesy: Samuel Goldwyn Films

You’ve also done some acting in the movies Cowgirl’s Song and then Reagan. Talk a little bit about what those experiences were like, and is that a direction you would like to explore more?

I filmed A Cowgirl’s Song two years ago. It was here in Oklahoma where I live. We filmed it in Chickasha, Oklahoma. It’s a really small town but that was so much fun. The movie’s on Netflix right now. I got to play the main character’s younger sister. It’s a really good feel-good movie about overcoming hardship and adversity. I got to write a song for the soundtrack, which is my first single out ever, and so it was so fun.

And then Reagan, was awesome. I’ve never been on a set that’s a period piece, so everyone was dressed up like they were in the ‘30s, it was great. I was playing with a younger Ronald Reagan, when he was 17 and he lifeguarded at the Illinois River. I could totally see myself doing that again.

One of the things that you wanted to buy with your $1 million win was a dog, and you got Binks, right?

I did. It took about a year of begging my parents, but they finally caved and surprised me with Binks (a Maltipoo) and our German Shepherd on Christmas 2018, so he’s the pride and joy of my life. He owns the house now. He’s like the prince of the palace and I love him.

Related: Tape Face Speaks! The AGT: Fantasy League Mime Breaks His Silence

What else did you do with the winnings? Did you invest it in your show, making more puppets? Or maybe you just saved it.

Well, I definitely did that. I remember when I was on AGT, I talked about getting my mom a new dishwasher because at the time the house we lived in—and I cherished this house because I grew up in it—our dishwasher never worked, ever. And so, I was like, “If I win this show, I’m going to get my mom a dishwasher,” and I ended up re-doing her whole kitchen, so that was awesome. And then I donated a lot of it to my church that I grew up in, too, which was really special for me and my family because we really love that church.

What’s your long-term goal? Any interest in doing a Vegas show like Terry Fator or acting or do you want to be in a band? Where would you like to see your career go?

I always tell people that I don’t want to be put in a box and that I don’t want anyone to limit me. I tell people who look up to me, the kids that come up to me, “Don’t let anyone limit you or tell you that you can’t do anything.” My whole mantra is that I want to do it all. I think it would be amazing to have my own variety show some day like The Carol Burnett Show. Honestly, just incorporate every facet of me, because right now I’m kind of all over the place. I’m only 19, so I’m trying to figure it out, but music right now is the focal point. I’m on that road and, hopefully, someday it’ll all come together, but honestly, just to do it all is my goal.

America’s Got Talent: Fantasy League airs Monday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC and next day on Peacock.

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