I am a big fan of NBC TV’s “America’s Got Talent.” Apart from the eccentric, the esoteric, and the “strange” acts that make us laugh, there comes along a few talented individuals that stand out from the rest of the field of competitors. One of those performers commanding the spotlight was Jackie Evancho, who inked a sweet deal with SYCO/Columbia Records.
The first time I saw her on the show I dropped everything and dashed from my kitchen to the tube, in total disbelief. Could this be a hoax? Is she lip-synching? It seemed extraordinary to hear such a little thing belt out such perfectly-pitched, heavenly sounds. Opera, at that!
I watched and waited until the camera panned the judges. I wanted to see their reaction. Sharon Osborne is very warm and welcoming to contestants, but don’t be deceived because she can dish it out like the best of them; that is, the best of the other judges. Like Howie Mandel, that “tells it like it is” honestly, straight-forward; yet, ever-so politely. He may throw in a wise crack joke or two while he’s at it. But Piers Morgan is the picky one. He gets right down to the “nitty gritty,” cuts to the chase, taking no prisoners, bar none, wielding his tongue like a sword. Yeah, you bet it can be pretty sharp at times. Oh, well, that’s Piers…
It takes a lot to impress the British judge, but Jackie blew Piers away! (Me included!) Ditto for the audience, with a standing “o” to show their appreciation for such a magnificent performance. All that voice coming from a 10-year -old. Seems absolutely unbelievable, but a delight to watch.
So, what did Picky Piers have to say about the young songstress’ performance? “I have never, ever seen an act on this show, or the British show, or any other talent shows in the world,” Piers exclaimed, “that I have seen with more potential than Jackie Evancho.”
Piers pointed out that the show’s goal is to discover raw, exceptional talent. Jackie is a first for the judge who has been doing this for the last five years, with a distinctive eye for potential stars.
The “Prodigy from Pittsburgh” embarked on her amazing musical journey at age 7, influenced the popular Broadway show, “The Phantom of the Opera.” Since then it’s been a steady, straight-for-the-stars ride: music lessons at age 8, then her meteoric YouTube video, which sky-rocketed to number one the week of August 11, collecting a cool 30 million hits. Wait, don’t go anywhere yet, there’s more: “America’s Got Talent’s” grand finale was the show’s highest rated in three years. That’s when Jackie was crowned runner-up and she took it like a pro.
I must confess, since she debuted on the show, I never missed any of her TV performances. Her dresses were “fabulosa;” they had style and made her look like a little opera diva, (and a little girl, very age appropriate). I couldn’t wait to see what she was wearing or what she would be singing. (Does this sound like the mother of three girls talking to ya?) How quaint! She’s a pint-sized star!
The song that blasted her into the quarter finals, winning over fans from everywhere, including myself, was Puccini’s “O Mio Bambino Caro.” She silenced the critics, squelched all those silly lip-synching rumors, transforming the stage to a heavenly choir.
“Jackie has a rare and precious talent,” states Rob Stringer, Chairman of Columbia/Epic Label Group. They are excited about having a part in working with her to showcase her talent to the world.
Oh, by the way, what did the winner, R&B, blues singer Michael Grimm whisper into Jackie’s ear when “America’s Got Talent” announced she was the runner-up? He’s not telling. It’s their little secret.
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