Jackie Evancho America's Got Talent Finale Review

10-Year-Old Opera Sensation Receives Star Treatment During Finals

10-year-old opera singer Jackie Evancho burst onto the national music scene as a contestant during the YouTube quarterfinals of the fifth season of America's Got Talent. Jackie instantly garnered attention for her adult-like opera performances. The shock factor of such a mature-sounding voice coming out of a 10-year-old girl's body made Jackie an instant favorite of the producers, judges and many fans. Indeed, Jackie is so good that many fans of the show have accused her of lip syncing or otherwise being a fake. Although it seems clear that Jackie is the real deal, there is still a possibility that some of her performances were "enhanced" by live autotuning or some other computerized voice-enhancing device. Just go back and listen to her quarterfinals performance and compare it to later performances. The difference is so obvious that only a fool couldn't see that some kind of funny business seems to be going on.

Jackie did a nice but rather understated performance of "Ave Maria" during the Final 4 finale on Tuesday, September 14, 2010. But the bigger story among AGT watchers is the brazen favoritism shown toward Jackie during the finale. Piers basically declared Jackie the best time and time again during the final broadcast. This is not really such a problem, as the voters could and often do simply ignore the judges' comments about who the public is "supposed to" vote for. But what was striking was the outright lie that Piers Morgan continued to perpetrate.

Morgan claimed with a straight face that Jackie Evancho gave a "perfect" performance. Coming from a seasoned judge and talent scout, this is nothing short of a brazen lie. Even the relatively "uninformed" (I will admit to not knowing much about the technical aspects of singing) can hear that Jackie is far from perfect as an opera singer.

I will only point out one thing because that is all that is necessary to debunk Piers's bogus claims -- Jackie has a very noticeable unnatural and unrefined vibrato. We don't need an opera expert to hear this. It's as plain as day to anyone who has actually heard a great opera singer. Their vibrato is consistent, unwavering and flawless. It is laughable for Piers Morgan to claim that Jackie gave a perfect performance.Simply put, it is a lie and attempt to secure an America's Got Talent win for Jackie Evancho, who somehow became the producers' favorite. Thanks for losing your head, Simon Cowell. This decision to use manipulation to push Jackie to a win is truly inexplicable.

For starters, Jackie is not going to get a Vegas show. She is simply too young. People won't line up to buy tickets to see her as a headliner. So pushing Jackie as the show's favorite makes no sense from that perspective.

Second, she almost certainly won't be a big seller if she gets a record deal. Opera rarely sells well. Yes, Jackie is more of a popera or classical crossover singer like Josh Groban and others. But her young age suggests that it will be nearly impossible to find a way to successfully market her to the masses. Just think about how difficult it is to get sales for a child of this age. She could try to go the Charlotte Church route, but Charlotte was like 14 when she started having her success. What examples are there of a 10-year-old opera singer being a successful recording artist? Choosing to lie and manipulate to push Jackie to a win makes little sense from a recording-star perspective.

Now, that simply leaves the issue of who should win based on talent. This is subjective, of course, but how many times do we have to hear her voice crack or to listen to her unnatural vibrato and lack of power before we can conclude that she is, in fact, a flawed singer at this time? Michael Grimm hasn't missed a single note the entire competition. One would wonder what the judges/producers are listening to if they truly think she is "perfect." The whole thing just smells like a rotten egg. Something doesn't jive. It is understandable to have Jackie on the show. In fact, I personally gave her the highest score in the Top 10 because I thought she did just enough on a fairly weak night for the other top contestants.

But here comes along the Top 4, and Michael Grimm nails "When a Man Loves a Woman." I personally didn't think the song was a great song choice because it didn't give Michael enough opportunities to show his substantial power. But he did nail the performance for what it was, and it had a few high spots. Jackie's version of "Ave Maria" had some beautiful notes to be sure. But there was a complete lack of power throughout, unskilled vibrato and a shaky voice in parts. Only a watcher completely ignorant in spotting obvious singing flaws would not be able to spot Jackie's problems. The whole show wreaks of dishonest favoritism.

So, the results will be announced on Wednesday, September 15, 2010. There is a strong chance Jackie Evancho will win at this point. I had actually picked Michael Grimm to win it all after the initial auditions were over. But when Jackie came along during the special YouTube round, she was an obvious favorite (if not the favorite). Nonetheless, I predicted that Jackie would not win for the reason that even I, as an untrained observer, can hear her flaws and the fact that she simply isn't as good as Barbara Padilla, Neal Boyd, Paul Potts and many other opera singers who have appeared on America's Got Talent, Britain's Got Talent and other talent shows.

What I didn't expect was the rampant and nauseating favoritism I saw during the finale. People untrained in spotting talent tend to comprise the bulk of the voters on these shows. Many of those people are already inclined to vote for Jackie simply due to the shock factor or that she's cute (don't even get me started on all of her canned responses that the public is too dumb to spot).

But now they have the show lying on her behalf to magnify the ignorance even further. The judges should be there to let the public know something about talent, hopefully helping the public decide who is the most talented. That's not what happened tonight. Instead, we get Piers buzzing a nice (although admittedly somewhat underwhelming) Prince Poppycock performance. And then we get Piers continuing on through the night finding ways to praise Jackie with lies and deceit. It's the most blatant attempt to railroad all the other contestants in favor of one that I've seen in 7 years of watching reality TV (competition) shows. Fantasia received similar treatment in the third season of American Idol, but it was plainly obvious that she deserved most of that praise.

That's simply not so with Jackie. Every flaw has been ignored by the judges--completely ignored every single round. It makes me want to not watch the show again, but I will certainly be back. Jackie Evancho will probably win America's Got Talent, and the reality that reality TV is nothing more than a popularity contest will rear its ugly head once again.

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Comments 14 comments

max 4 years ago

Jimmy your an idiot or just have great pleasure in pissing people off.

Her imperfections are balanced out by her emotions, poise and style. Singing is just a part of her overall charm.Who cares what her vibrato is doing.

This girl is truely amazing.

Piers comments probably did her an injustice. He only had a front row seat to her live performance.I would not call her performace perfection that may implie 100%

Her performance with all her imperfections is indiscribable , unseen , imeasurable.In short great beyound believe.

Your an imbacile who cant see real talent if it bit you on the ass.

Only thing you have right is Michael is great.Credit to him but to me nothing more and nothing less.

Jackie on the other hand a Star of stars is born.


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Ralph Deeds 4 years ago

Jimmy's entitled to his opinion. But, in my opinion Jackie Evancho is spectacular.


Nicola Jarvis 5 years ago

"Her CD was marketed by a Nicola Jarvis in the UK and they could not sell them."

Wow - I wasn't aware that I ever worked for Jackie Evancho! Thanks for letting me know! I better find out what drugs I was taking that has made me forget the whole thing. ;)

FYI - I'm the editor of a website dedicated to the classical crossover genre - I have never been anyone's PR, agent, manager and all the rest of it.


Anwaar 5 years ago

Well Jimmy, what do you have to say now. Feel pretty stupid don't you...Jackie beat all the odds and just had her second album "Dream with Me" go Gold within 4 weeks of release. So much for your opinion and predictions.


simnesan 5 years ago

To follow up on Robo9999's comment, "O Holy Night" went Platinum in case you haven't heard. Oh, and speaking of bias, who was it that bribed you to say all of that outright nasty stuff about 10 year old Jackie Evancho and the AGT Judge Piers Morgan? Any credibility you may have had with me is in the wastebasket. Good riddance Hubpages.


Robo9999 5 years ago

And I quote "Second, she almost certainly won't be a big seller if she gets a record deal." Have you checked the Billboard charts lately? O Holy Night debuts at # 2 and beats Rihanna. She is the youngest to debut an album on Billboard. You have certainly proven to be someone I will not seek out for expertise in the entertainment industry. How could you not see it? a 4 year old with a tin ear could see that this young girl would be a superstar.


Lenny B 5 years ago

Her CD was marketed by a Nicola Jarvis in the UK and they could not sell them.If you watch her past audios even three months prior to Agt they are not very good.She is being taught to coo Operatic sounds more than she is singing words or notes. This is to mask the imperfections.Her pop voice is not very good so how can she have a Opera voice.One more thing I would like to point out. If you watched her duet with the wonderful Sara Brightman,Sara was trying extremely hard to sing very low. This is because they were amplifying Jackie so much. If Sara sang with the strength of usual vocals, she would have blasted this child off the stageor showed up how inadequate Jackie really is.


Richard 5 years ago

I agree with all the above. I think some people give such reviews anyway cause they're jealous, but this guy makes me laugh, he is so much like those other dopes we see so often.


Ulf 5 years ago

Jimmy,

Where did you get it from that she is singing opera?

She is singing classical crossover?

As said in a statement her above, it was the show that labeled it "opera". Remember that before you start throwing out accusations.


wayne 5 years ago

Americas Got Talent issued a very early statement when the autotune thing hit. They simply said they didn't use autotune on the show. Britains Got Talent and x Factor immediately said yes they used autotune on their shows. Simon Cowell issued a ban on the use of autotune when the controvery hit in Europe. That ban includes the Americas Got Talent show. Of course people will continue to believe that the Got Talent Series uses all sorts of sound altering equipment to enhance their chosens performance. Autotune has been used in entertainment since the late 90s.


wayne 5 years ago

God what an ASS you are. Get it through your head jerk, she is not an opera singer. You are too stupid to know the differance. Vegas show? There was never a Vegas show for the winner ASS. Evancho lost because of meaningless Vegas hype. No one pairs children and Las Vegas together. Went right over your head didn't it ASS? Shows favortism? The show caused her to lose ASS. Grimm will out sale evancho? I'll rub that gem all over your Ass from now on. Congrats, even ASSES guess right for all the wrong reasons sometimes.


Scott 6 years ago

With all due respect Jimmy. you're a moron.


grapevine 6 years ago

as someone who was there behind the scenes I can tell you that your assumptions really do make you and ass. Jackie was genuine and never coached. why is it so hard for you to give credit where it is deserved. why is it so hard for you to believe that a 10 year old can be so poised. Of course her voice had imperfections but you are ridiculous to compare her two years of singing to Michael Grimm's 15 years on stage or Paul Potts OR Barbara or any other adult. As a matter of fact, Barbara's voice cracked more than once during her AGT performances. Don't you remember? Jackie's only cracked twice. I'd like to see you try and sustain those notes under those stressful conditions. I can only imagine where Jackie's voice will be by the time she reaches barbara's age. So what do you have to say now that Jackie hasn't won? She'll outsell Michael Grimm - I guarantee you that. Jackie has mass appeal. Michael does not and Don't quote sales statistics on her prelude to a dream cd that was produced by her parents and marketed by word of mouth. She also didn't have the same opportunities to sell her cd in local bars like michael because of her age and genre. Hell they even pulled the CD after AGT started and she hit the billboards - none of michael grimm's 5 or so cd's have done so. get your facts straight before you start mouthing off with your mean spirit.


anonymous 6 years ago

your points might be valid were jackie to claim that she is an opera singer. she mearly sang one (easy) opera aria. neither she nor her family claim that she is an opera singer - the media labeled her that. piers wasn't outright lying - he was stating his opinion based on his evaluation of what she is - a prodigious 10 year old girl who sings classical crossover. you're a moron for even trying to judge her as an opera singer.

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