Opera singing sensation Jackie Evancho was the picture of class when it was announced that she had placed second to Mississippi bluesman Michael Grimmm on the Season 5 finale of America’s Got Talent. She walked over and gave the much taller Grimm a hug, but kept her cool, returned to her place at host Nick Cannon’s side, and told him that the experience had been “amazing” and that she hoped everyone would get to hear her again.
Hear her again? There is no doubt that the world will be hearing from 10-year-old phenom Jackie again. Even if one disregarded her age, one cannot disregard her amazing talent — and the precedent set by so many others who have failed to win the top prize in reality show contests.
America’s Got Talent judge Piers Morgan compared her to Susan Boyle, the unemployed Scotswoman who took the world by storm via YouTube video after she performed a surprisingly beautiful rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream.” Jackie Evancho’s age and voice surprised everyone, prompting the comparison.
“Everyone assumed Susan was going to win [Britain’s Got Talent] and she finished second,” he told People magazine after the America’s Got Talent Finals results show. “Now she’s sold millions of albums. Jackie’s going to have a superstar’s career.”
In fact, few remember who defeated Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent. But everybody knows who Boyle is.
Jackie Evancho can rest easy in the confidence of her talent taking her far. She can also take solace in the fact that so many artists who have finished in the runner-up position (or further back) in several reality competitions have gone on to rewarding careers, many of them becoming more successful than the winners themselves.
For instance, the Season 8 winner of American Idol, Kris Allen, has gone on to chart success with both his first album (#11 on Billboard 200 albums chart) and his first two singles (Top 20 Billboard Adult Pop Songs chart). However, the assumed frontrunner and projected winner of the competition, Adam Lambert, has gone on to sell over twice the number of albums Allen has sold with his “For Your Entertainment” CD (#3 Billboard 200) and has three Billboard Hot 100 hits, including his latest single, which is still climbing the charts and about to break into the Top 30.
Clay Aiken, Season 2 American Idol runner-up, has gone on to greater chart success than Ruben Studdard, that season’s winner, selling nearly twice as many albums.
Chris Daughtry placed fourth in Season 5 of American Idol. He currently has sold the third-most albums (in U. S. sales) of all the American Idol alumni. The winner of Season 5, Taylor Hicks, has had little sales success since his first album.
Miranda Lambert, who finished third during Season 1 on the USA Network’s Nashville Star, has been on the ascendant in the past few years, while that season’s winner, Buddy Jewell, saw initial success but subsequently fading album and singles sales. Lambert’s latest album has spawned a #1 (“The House That Built Me”) and #2 (“White Liar”) Billboard Hot Country Songs hits.
So should 10-year-old Jackie Evancho worry that she finished second to the 30-year-old Michael Grimm? Hardly.
Watch Jackie Evancho sing a duet with Sarah Brightman. Is there any doubt that she’s on her way to major success?
“America’s Got Talent,” NBC Television
“Adam Lambert,” Billboard.com
“Miranda Lambert,” Billboard.com