She is one of only a handful of ‘America’s Got Talent’s’ truly electrifying superstars in the NBC show’s five-year history. And she’s only 10 years old. With the ‘AGT’ finals approaching Sept. 15, 10-year-old extra-talented soprano opera singer Jackie Evancho stands a strong chance to walk away with the $1 million prize.
When Evancho, who is from Pittsburgh, premiered on ‘AGT’ Aug. 10 as a YouTube specialty act, she became a national talking point on par with ‘Britain’s Got Talent’s’ 2008 phenom opera singer Susan Boyle, who became famous on the Internet with millions of viral views. The YouTube round is new to ‘AGT’ this year, as finalists are traditionally chosen exclusively through live competition. But it now looks to be a big factor in the show’s winner.
Although she is new to the national stage, Evancho released a classical CD of mostly cover songs last year, called ‘Prelude to a Dream,’ and has performed onstage with Hollywood uber-music producer David Foster.
Evancho’s fellow top 10 ‘AGT’ competitors include fellow singers Taylor Mathews, Michael Grimm, Prince Poppycock, and Ali and Christina; dancers Studio One Young Beast Society and Anna and Patryck; black-light performance artists Fighting Gravity; illusionist Michael Grasso; and bicycle stuntman Jeremy VanSchoonhoven.
The slightly overwhelmed Evancho took a few minutes to talk with Fancast about competing in ‘America’s Got Talent’ and being a frontrunner at such a young age — and the difficulties that come along with it.
Scale of 1-10, what has this week been like for you?
My excitement for this show if it was a scale of 1 to 10 would probably be 100 — no, 10. I wish I could say 100. I have had some sad emotions, so I am happy that I could burst out into tears, which has happened before. But yeah, it’s very hard to be here.
Why is it hard?
Well, it’s hard because I miss my family a lot.
Do you talk with them much? Do they call you?
No, not really. I guess I can call them, but they’re usually busy. They’re not busy. I don’t get a chance to call them a lot.
Do you have enough time to just hang out and be a kid, or is it all work time?
I don’t know. Well, I think this whole experience, everything, I am a little girl.
You were successful before this show. Has this changed your life?
Just a little bit. People ask for my picture and autograph. That’s about it.
How much do you rehearse for these performances?
Well, we usually have an hour to sing. We rehearse with the vocal coach for an hour. We come here and sing a few times, which isn’t very much in an hour.
When did you first know you had this singing ability?
I just turned eight, two years ago. We were watching ‘Phantom of the Opera.’ I really loved the movie. I was mesmerized for the whole entire time. After that, I started singing the songs around the house. After that, my mom thought that I was really good. So, she asked me if I wanted to do a talent competition down in Pittsburgh. I was the first runner-up to 20-year-old opera singer, who sang elegantly.
Did your talent come out right away or did it take time?
It just came on its own. I don’t know how it happened.
What do you think when you hear yourself sing? Is there a personality you’re going for?
I don’t really know. I guess the personality I am trying to go for is someone who is into the song a lot.
What do you think about being a competition with all these talented people?
I really don’t pay attention to the competition. Usually, I’m just friends with them. They’re all very, very good people. Sometimes I get worried, because the people here are really good. The dancers are good, especially Studio One. Fighting Gravity is amazing.
Who is your biggest support system?
It’s just my mom, really.
Have you thought about what you would do with the money if you won?
I would probably help baby seals.
Animals are an important cause for you?
I really love them.
Wouldn’t you buy anything for yourself?
I’ll probably buy myself a pony.
Do you think about there are a lot of other singers in the competition?
Do you pick your songs?
They pick the songs for us. We have a producers’ meeting in a little cabin when we rehearse. After that, I sing some songs that they listen to. They all debate on whether it is a really good song or not.
What do you miss most from home?
I miss my family the most. I miss being able to sleep in my loft.
Do you miss your pets or toys?
There are millions of pets. We have 23 pets. We have three dogs, a lizard, two cats, two baby pigs, three frogs, and four ducks.
Back home, do you talk about your singing with friends?
No. They probably know that I don’t like it, so we try not to pay any attention to it.
Is it weird talking about with reporters?
Yeah – oh, no, no.
Do you want to be a singer when you grow up or something else, like a doctor or lawyer?
No, I really want to be a singer. That’s always what I wanted to be.
What you do you like in school?
I actually really love writing. I usually get straight A’s and B’s.
Would you want to be a writer?
You’re good enough to stick with singing.