Who said that?

Teenage ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer still doing the talking

By EMILY REILY
Special to the Union Leader
June 20. 2018 1:32PM
Darci Lynne Farmer — the youngest winner in “America's Got Talent” history — says while she's given her puppets some elements of her own personality, she's not as outspoken and rambunctious as some of her characters. (Courtesy/Jerry Hymer Photography)
If you go...
WHO: Darci Lynne

WHEN: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. shows Saturday

WHERE: Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, 169 Ocean Blvd., Hampton

TICKETS: $37 to $98

INFO: casinoballroom.com; 929-4100

At just 13, Darci Lynne Farmer already has success down pat.

In September 2017, the bright-eyed teen from Oklahoma City won Season 12 of TV’s “America’s Got Talent” with her jaw-dropping ventriloquism and singing act. The title earned her $1 million dollars and an entertainment slot on the Las Vegas strip.

Darci Lynne, or Darci as she likes to be called, never fell far behind in the competition. An impressive early performance with her lovable puppet Petunia earned her the Golden Buzzer, which sent her on the fast track to the quarterfinals. In another episode, she and her quirky, cantankerous puppet, Edna Doorknocker, gave judge Simon Cowell a personal performance of Aretha Franklin’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” wowing the music exec and the crowd.

Since the win, Darci has been busy bringing her unique act to theaters across the United States, stealing a few precious days at home with her friends before she begins the eighth grade.

NHWeekend recently caught up with Darci and her mom, Misty Farmer, to find out how Darci is handling such a busy schedule, and what it’s been like to win “America’s Got Talent.”

Why did you decide to go on “America’s Got Talent?”

I watched it a lot before going on it. I was like, “Maybe I could be, like, the third ventriloquist on ‘America’s Got Talent.’ And that really motivated me. So, I just really wanted to try it.

What did it feel like to get the Golden Buzzer?

I was really shocked, and then I was like, ‘Is this really happening?’ I was just really, really happy that ‘America’s Got Talent’ thought that I was good. It felt good.

Are you happy with how it turned out?

Oh, yeah. I am so happy. Wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s really a dream come true. The whole thing is like a rollercoaster.

As her mom, Misty, you must be so proud of everything Darci has accomplished.

She has really, really grown in her maturity and how she handles things. We keep asking her, ‘Are you having fun?’ Are you liking it? ‘Do you want to keep going?’ We let her dictate all of this, because we’re not the ones out there performing, she is. She just says, ‘No, I wanna keep going. I wanna keep touring. I love it, it’s fun, I’m having a blast.’

Darci, what did you like most about being on America’s Got Talent?

I really liked meeting everyone — all of the contestants. They were so, so talented, and it was awesome meeting them. It was just really, really cool making new friends.

Do you still keep in touch with some contestants?

Oh yeah. I have their numbers and stuff like that. I keep in touch with Christian Gardino and Angelica Hale and Evie Clair, Merrick Hanna, Preacher Lawson and then (dog act) Sara and Hero.

Who was your favorite celebrity to meet?

I got to perform with Terry Fator, and it was really, really cool because he won “America’s Got Talent” too. He’s really iconic.

I thought maybe you were going to say Simon Cowell.

I loved all the judges. They were just awesome. They were so nice to me. And every time I see them, talk to them, it never gets old. I’m always super excited and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh.’

Misty, what are Darci’s puppets’ personalities like?

“When (Petunia) sings, she just has this booming voice. She becomes quite the little diva. She loves the spotlight.

And then Oscar is awkwardly shy around girls. But he has this great, soulful, Motown voice when he sings. Edna Doorknocker is Darci’s grumpy old next-door neighbor, and she is very wise. She likes to flirt with younger men. She gets a lot of laughs.

Misty, do you think some of Darci’s personality comes out in her puppets?

She’s put herself in a little bit of each of them because she’s very shy. When she performs, she’s not. That’s Petunia. And then Oscar; she’s at that age where she’s a little bit nervous and she can’t really talk to boys and she’s like, ‘Nah, that’s not my thing.’ She just does her comedy stuff with Edna.

Darci’s pretty funny, but she would never say those things without having a puppet on her hand, because that’s just not her personality.

And then Katie, she’s kind of sassy and outgoing. She’s the one that yodels.

Darci, do you have any advice for kids who might want to compete on “America’s Got Talent?”

I would say just try it and see what happens, because you never know what will happen. I’m so, so, so psyched what could happen.

And if you’re scared, just go for it, ‘cause it’s always nice to hear what people think of you, or maybe you can get some feedback from the judges. That would be so cool. Just go for it.

How’s the tour going?

Touring is amazing. I’ve been to so many cool places, and I have 32 shows left. Super, super excited. And the people everywhere, they are so nice and very supportive.

It must keep you busy.

Oh, yeah. I am only home like one or two weekends this summer.

Are you still able to have some fun while you’re on tour?

Sometimes. When we went to Tampa, Fort Meyers and Fort Lauderdale, we went to the beach a lot, and went to Busch Gardens and we did some rollercoasters. Some places, all we do is go do a show and stuff. But it just depends on time.

Do you come up with your routines all by yourself?

I have my ventriloquist coach — he helps me a lot — (and) my parents. We all kind of collaborate together, (along with) my voice coach. We all work together and bounce ideas. We just all put it together.

Misty: She’s the one that comes up with most everything, and we just really help her out. She ad libs a lot at the shows. She’ll add something in and then we’ll be like, ‘Well, that’s new, we hadn’t heard that before.’

There was one time that was kind of a last-minute decision for her to go down to Simon to sing to him. He had no idea he was gonna be a part of her skit, and she was so scared and so nervous. That was probably the most nervous I’ve seen her before a performance.

So what happened, Misty?

They rehearsed it with a sit-in Simon. Then literally at camera-blocking that morning, they just said, ‘I just don’t know what Simon will do. He’s just not predictable.’

She did it one time in camera blocking and the whole time I recall just going, ‘Oh, please don’t fall down the stairs.’ Because she was having to sing, manipulate a puppet, keep her mouth closed, and also walk with the puppet downstairs and place herself by Simon. So it was quite a feat.

Did you get Simon’s reaction?

He said that was the most embarrassed he’s ever been, and then looking back at it, he goes that it was brilliant. He loved it.

Darci, how much do you have to practice before it’s ready for a performance?

I have to practice every day.

Do you have any pets?

I have one dog. His name’s Chewbacca from “Star Wars.”

If you happen to be home on the weekend, what do you like to do?

I love to hang out with my friends a lot, and I have a really, really, really good group of friends that I like hanging out with. And I like to watch Netflix, and I like to go to the lake with my friends and waterski and tube.


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