This is what Bianca Ryan looks like today

Simon Cowell once said America’s Got Talent winner “Bianca Ryan is potentially one of the best singers I have ever heard in my life.” Sure, the blunt singing competition judge and AGT co-creator has been guilty of overselling his shows now and then with a little hyperbole, but there was no denying Ryan had the singing voice to make it big in the music industry.

Of course, it takes more than a good voice to succeed in music. Ryan knows that all too well. Her career has yet to really take off since winning the original season of AGT at age 11 in 2006. So what has she been up to since then? Here’s a look at Ryan’s life after the AGT shine wore off.

She got the acting bug

Can you picture Ryan in Hannah Montana? What about Camp Rock? Well, she revealed that she auditioned for both Disney Channel projects in an interview for the book Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America’s Got Talent (via Radar Online). Ryan pressed pause on those acting aspirations when music became her focus, but she eventually got the acting bug again when her career slowed down.

She starred in The Wrecking’s 2010 music video for “About to Fall” after meeting the band at her church and she co-starred in the 2014 low budget indie movie We Are Kings, which features Ryan’s original song, “Broken Down House.”

“With acting, you can be like a totally different person and just take on a whole new character,” Ryan told Pop Trigger. “And when people see it, they believe it. And I just think that’s the coolest thing ever.”

Unfortunately for Ryan, she hasn’t had many opportunities to be a totally different person. In both the music video and film, she played a — you guessed it — singer.

Just because she won AGT doesn’t mean she watches it

Don’t ask Ryan about other contestants on AGT because chances are she isn’t too familiar with them. She told Odyssey that she doesn’t watch the show, except for a clip here and there. Her reason: She isn’t much of a TV watcher. But she did admit to Odyssey that she envies winners nowadays and the advantages they have.

“It is insane with the new age and social media. Fans can hit follow and automatically have a personal connection with someone,” said Ryan, who felt her own career might have gone differently if she had won more more recently. “Back in 2006, the judges would say, ‘That was a great performance, the end.’ There was no connection back then.”

There doesn’t seem to be much of a connection between Ryan and the judges now either. She told the Scott McGlynn Show the only interaction she has with any of the judges from her season are the “likes” she occasionally gets from Brandy on Twitter.

Broadway came calling

Ryan made her Broadway debut in 2017 in Home for the Holidays, which appeared to target reality TV junkies with its eclectic, if not odd, mix of talent. The Christmas-themed jukebox musical featured winners from AGT, American Idol, and The Voice, a former Bachelorette, some YouTubers, and Oscar nominee Danny Aiello. Critics weren’t kind to the show, calling it “a torturous evening” and “a clumsy affair.” Oof.

On the bright side, Ryan, who was no stranger to holiday music, seemed to think the experience was beneficial for her. “I actually haven’t performed live in a very long time due to some health things that I had gone through last year,” Ryan told Celeb Secrets TV. “It’s been really interesting, like each show, finding myself and getting strength that I didn’t know that I had.”

About that $1 million grand prize

Either someone gave Ryan great advice or she was a really smart kid. She told Inside AGT (via Radar Online) that she saved most of the $1 million grand prize that she won on AGT when she was 11.

“That was put away for me when I turn 21,” she said. “Some of it was used to run some of my businesses that I have. Some was used for traveling.” And there was also the Care Bear she bought, which she told Maximum Pop was probably her first purchase (she was “obsessed”).

Ryan’s biggest purchase appears to be the home she moved into in 2018. It’s unclear if she paid for it with her AGT winnings, but if she did, credit to her for really stretching out that money.

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