We met the youngest-ever winner of “America’s Got Talent,” Darci Lynne Farmer, a ventriloquist and singer, when she was visiting Manhattan recently. Darci Lynne, 14, is from Oklahoma, and she even brought out Petunia to talk to us a bit.
Do you do anything other than ventriloquism?
Yes. I do like to sing by myself without Petunia, Oscar and Edna, because I’ve been singing since I was 6. I don’t know. I used to run track in school. I don’t have time for that anymore. But I did learn to do that. But the main thing is I like to sing by myself.
What does it take to prepare for a show?
Lots of practice. I do try to practice at least two times a week or every day if I can before a performance . . . so I’m really prepared.
What was it like to perform before such a big audience on “America’s Got Talent”?
Pretty, pretty scary. But very exciting, too. It was scary the very first time I was on a stage like that. But it was super-fun. My very first time walking onto the stage was really cool because I just looked out, and there were so many people and then the four judges sitting there. It was really cool. Probably scary and exciting.
What is your favorite puppet?
Probably Petunia. Don’t tell anyone else. Don’t tell Oscar. Probably Petunia. She’s really fun.
Do you have any siblings?
I have three brothers. My oldest brother’s name is Nick. And then there’s Dalton, and then I have one younger, and that’s Nate.
Who’s your favorite judge on “America’s Got Talent?”
Probably Simon [Cowell]. I would say Simon is my very favorite, because he’s super-super-nice and he’s so kind. And he did so much for me. He gave me so many opportunities, and he’s just an amazing guy. It’s really nice getting to meet him.
Do you have anything or anyone who helps you stay calm before a show?
My family there with me before I perform. And I just kind of tell myself, just be cool, you know, and I try to convince myself that when they watch me, they’re going to love it, no matter what I do. I mean, I can go on stage and trip and fall, and they’d still love it.
What is your favorite song to sing with your puppets?
The song I like is “Summertime.” I really like when Oscar sings “Loving You.” I don’t think I have a favorite. I’ll just say all of them.
Do you have bedtime?
Do I have a bedtime? I should, but not really, though. I should, though. Because I go to bed way too late sometimes. I just get caught up in all that I am doing. But my parents try to get me to bed at least by 10 or something like that.
Do you write your own jokes?
Some of them. I’m not really good at that. Sometimes I just have to sit down and think of them. And other times I’m like literally brushing my teeth or doing homework, and I’m like, oh, my gosh, that’s such a great joke. Only sometimes, though, not all the time.
Have you set any other goals for yourself?
I definitely have new goals too in the future. I don’t necessarily want to do ventriloquism for the rest of my life but I’m not stopping anytime soon. I want to record songs and be on more TV shows. There’s more goals that I want to meet.
When did you start your career with ventriloquism?
I was 10. Well, basically I was 9. But I like begged for a puppet for like months and finally got one when I was 10.
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
That’s a hard one. That’s so hard. I probably would be a sloth because they don’t have to do anything. And I like sloths — they’re really cute.
If you were to be on a TV show, who would you want as your co-star?
That’s a really good question. Oh, my gosh. Probably Kevin Hart or Tina Fey.
Do people recognize you in public, do people stop you and ask you to perform for them?
Yeah, that happens all the time. It’s actually more common with kids because they definitely love to watch Petunia and the others, and they want to take a picture with me. It is really nice meeting everyone. It happens a lot.
Do you play video games?
I don’t. I mean, Fortnite, do you play that? I don’t. My brother plays it. I don’t play Fortnite or Xbox. I’m not good at that. I like to watch Netflix and stuff like that. I watch TV all the time. I like to get outside more. I try to get outside more is what I’m really trying to say. But I like Netflix better than video games.
What is something fans don’t know about you?
That’s hard. I don’t know. I’ll get back to you on that!
What advice do you have for kids who want to grow up and be like you?
Never give up. And don’t ever let anyone tell you no, because you can do it. You can reach your goal if you work really, really hard and you believe in yourself — you can do it. So never give up, is my advice.
Do you have a coach now?
I do. I have a ventriloquist coach. His name is Gary Owen. And we met when I was 10. He heard about me after my very, very, very first performance with my first puppet. And he heard about me through a couple who went to his church, and they told him about me, and we met at Chili’s. And he was like, "I really want to take you under my wing. I want to teach you more." And he’s been doing it for almost four years now. And he lives in Oklahoma, 10 minutes away from my house. I’m blessed.
Michelle Perino's fourth-grade class, Daniel Street Elementary School, Lindenhurst