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Why Jackie Evancho Won't Win America's Got Talent
Prediction: Jackie Evancho Opera Act Will Fall Short of Top Prize
As I was reviewing the performances on the America's Got Talent special YouTube quarterfinals episode, I was just as shocked and pleasantly surprised as most watchers seem to be about the talent of Jackie Evancho. 10-year-old opera singer Jackie Evancho brings a massive shock factor due to her operatic ability at such a tender age. Jackie is apparently a natural, as she supposedly has been singing for only two years.
Since suddenly bursting onto the scene during the quarterfinals of America's Got Talent, just one video of her performance has surpassed two million views in three days. Other copies of the Evancho performance of Puccini's "O Mio Babbino Caro" are garnering hundreds of thousands more hits. However, as a watcher of America's Got Talent since the first season, I can fairly confidently say that, while talented, Jackie Evancho will likely fall short of winning the fifth season of America's Got Talent.
Let me outline the reasons why I believe this little dynamo will not win. First, though, I will say that Jackie is instantly one of my favorites. Nothing about this article is intended to take away from her immense talent. In fact, I think Jackie is a lock for the finals. She almost certainly will make it to the final performance week and vie for the championship. But I believe that she will fall short for the reasons stated below.
Note: You can see the video below of Jackie performing. Sometimes, these videos are deleted. You can search for another copy on YouTube if her performance disappears.
The first reason Jackie will have trouble winning is that she is overrated by her fans. This is understandable to some degree. After all, seeing a 10-year-old girl sing like this is a dramatic experience. Indeed, she is so good for her age that many commenters flatly claim that her performance is a fake. Of course, it is not fake. Jackie is the real deal, and even this show would not pull such a stunt. Besides, look at her mouth when she sings. Jackie obviously just has an advanced voice for her age plus enough training to bring out that voice at such a young age.
But Jackie really is overrated because of the shock factor. There is really no reason to conclude, for example, that she is better than Barbara Padilla, the opera singer who finished second on America's Got Talent's fourth season. For that matter, is Jackie better than Prince Poppycock, this season's opera semifinalist? Some may say yes, but that's far from certain for the average viewer. And Poppycock actually delivers performances, not just singing.
When it comes to Jackie, she is a solid singer for what she has done so far, but that performance did not show much power and little to no originality. Without the age handicap to fall back on, Jackie really doesn't hold up compared to most winners and some losers. While an opera singer can win (Neal Boyd won the third season) America's Got Talent, Neal won in a weak season, and he is simply a much more powerful and distinct singer than Jackie is (although Jackie may become much better than Neal as she gets older). Simply put, the shock factor makes Jackie overrated.
In fact, if we compare her to the only child winner of America's Got Talent, Bianca Ryan, Jackie still doesn't hold up as a talent contestant. Bianca won not just for the shock factor, as many other young acts made the finals that first season. Bianca also won because of her uniqueness. Bianca stands out even apart from the age factor because she doesn't sound like anyone else in the world. On the other hand, Jackie Evancho is an opera singer that sounds like a weaker version of professional opera singers.
Opera snobs may contend that Jackie has more talent than Bianca, but judging merely by technical factors is not very relevant in these kinds of talent contests. Uniqueness, soulfulness and versatility reign supreme. Ventriloquist Terry Fator is one of the most unique entertainers in the world. Pretty much no one does exactly what he does. Hence his victory. Bianca is a unique mix of soul, RnB, pop, Broadway and a smidgen of opera. It is difficult to find a singer who matches her versatility in vocal tones. While the average viewer may not think about it that way, they sure seem to respond to uniqueness and versatility.
In seasons where no one is particularly unique or versatile, someone who is soulful or delivers emotional performances tends to win. Kevin Skinner had trouble staying in tune, but he was a very emotional singer. Neal Boyd was also a very emotional contestant who took that emotion to an America's Got Talent championship. Jackie is not unique when you discount the age issue, and she is not particularly emotional, as truly emotional singing simply can't come along at such a tender age. Only life experience brings that quality in singing or other performing.
This is why Michael Grimm remains the favorite to win this season of AGT. He brings the emotion to his performances. This is what people respond to. And he is a bit more unique than Jackie. As stated before, Jackie simply sounds like a decent version of another opera singer. Michael remains the favorite. He is more unique and emotional as a performer than Jackie.
With that said, it's hard to say how many people will get the past the initial shock and vote the way the public typically votes on these shows. It's awfully hard not to be impressed by Jackie. With an age handicap, she is arguably the best performer on the show. However, this age issue tends to not be enough to bring home a championship when the age is the primary factor for the interest in the contestant. For example, Connie Talbot finished second in Britain's Got Talent. She was utterly amazing for a 6-year-old girl, but that still was not enough to overcome Paul Potts, an impressive opera singer, for a championship.
In short, child contestants usually don't win even when they are impressive for their age. Jackie certainly fits the bill of a finalist. But she has some developing to do, and it doesn't help that only male opera singers seem to win these shows when an opera singer does win. Barbara Padilla, a better opera singer than Jackie, could not even beat Kevin Skinner. Although Jackie does not quite fit the mold of a champion, she is certainly a star in the making. Whether she wins AGT or not, Jackie Evancho is born to be a singing star. Whether she makes it in Broadway, opera or some other venue, America's Got Talent is a huge boost in her budding career. The sky is the limit for this talented young opera star.