Simon Cowell sees a bright future ahead for Victory Brinker, the 9-year-old opera singer who concluded Tuesday's live America's Got Talent quarterfinals with a beautiful performance of "Casta Diva." The little girl, who during the audition stage of Season 16 earned the first-ever simultaneous Golden Buzzer from Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and host Terry Crews, stunned the judges again with her vocal talent during the NBC live show.
Cowell, who famously helped discover Carrie Underwood during American Idol's fourth season in 2005, even made comparisons to the Grammy-winning superstar when reviewing the Pennsylvania native's performance. "You have a unique special talent and I think you are incredible. It amazes me. I didn't even know someone your age could be able to sing this way," Cowell told Brinker after her performance, name-dropping Underwood as the most apt comparison to what she brings to her performances.
Judge Sofia Vergara echoed, "I thought someone needed years and years and decades of training and here you are doing it like it's nothing. Like it's the most natural thing for you. You deserve to be here." Heidi Klum chimed in, "You have the most amazing gift. It almost sounds like it's not real, it almost sounds like it's not coming from you. I would say that you are the cherry on top of an amazing night tonight."
Following the performance, Cowell continued to gush about Brinker's talent in an interview with PEOPLE, opening up about what caused him to see a similarity with the "Jesus, Take the Wheel" singer. "I didn't understand a lot about country music when I first met Carrie but you do know a star when you hear one and meet somebody," said Cowell. "I think same with Victory about how little I know about opera and classical music — not much."
Calling Brinker a "genuine, genuine star," Cowell said he saw a future ahead for the little girl making records, concerts, movies and whatever else she sets her heart to. "She's got something special about her. She is incredibly talented. She was fantastic on the audition show but she was outstanding tonight," Cowell added.