Jackie Evancho, Dan Sperry surprise and impress on 'America's Got Talent'

AGT-jackie-evanchoTen-year-old Jackie Evancho wowed America’s Got Talent viewers last night with her seriously grown-up voice. She won the YouTube popular vote to land on the show, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she won the whole thing. Behold:

Is there a certain…creepiness to it? Maybe. But the girl’s got some serious pipes.

Howie’s comments seemed to indicate that Jackie is supposed to be AGT‘s Susan Boyle — its staggeringly popular breakout star, its crazy-viral hit. I’m skeptical, not because Jackie lacks talent but because perfectly packaged adorable blonde children can only surprise us so much. The draw of that first Susan Boyle video was how it subverted our expectations of reality contest shows. Jackie may be exceeding expectations, but she’s not turning the convention on its ear.

“Anti-conjurer” Dan Sperry (basically a goth magician) freaked out Howie pretty badly by throwing a piece of magical used dental floss at the germaphobe. Honestly, the best part of that whole act was Sharon’s church giggles:

What’d you think, PopWatchers? Dan? Jackie? Who’s going all the way? Are you pulling for Cam Hodges, or are you just sad that dog got stage fright?

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  • ST

    Liked both of those acts though I don’t get what was “creepy” about Jackie. Yeah, she did have a grown-up voice but how is that creepy? I also liked the kid that played classical piano (can’t remember his name). He was fantastic.

    • Js

      Totally get the “creepy” thing…it just seemed unnatural. I thought she was lip-synching at first.

      • JEP

        Kind of eerie; lip-synching here also

      • Rob

        My wife and I thought it was a lip-synching from the start, it didn’ look like she was trying at all.

      • cobagibu

        me too…I have heard a few “little” girls with phenomenal upper range and breath control, but her low registry was that a mature woman almost…thought she was lipsynching as well, totally over emoting regardless

    • Rock Golf

      It took about 10 second of Jackie singing to realize the other 23 finalists are now just trying for 2nd place.
      It clearly wasn’t lip-snych – listen to how the volume changes as she moves her head even slightly away from the mike. And AGT just isn’t capable of doing even the slightest technically difficult thing well. Ask Pup.

      • Saluki56

        As someone who took voice lessons, it is all about lung capacity and breathe control. She is very well trained and at NO TIME did I think if was lip-synch. What a true talent. She has a shot at winning it all.

      • JFord

        Rock GOLF I completly agree with you about Jackie Evancho.She is a find that if we are lucky comes around in our life time.

      • JFord

        And as to her lip-snyching, if you listen you can hear when she takes in a breath.And she does sing like an Angel

    • Kat

      For some people, insanely precocious children are pretty creepy. Not only does she have a lovely voice that belongs to someone ten years older, but she’s so weirdly well-spoken for a ten-year-old. It just doesn’t seem natural for a child, so it freaks people like me out a bit. :) (Also, this has nothing to do with Jackie herself, but I was thoroughly creeped out by the show’s insistence on doing a major lengthy close-up of the kid crying at the end there. Give her some space and also stop trying to squeeze every last drop of emotion out of that show and into viewers’ laps and trust us to find it ourselves!)

      • cobagibu

        maybe we’ll find out that she’s not really 10 yrs old, but is a full grown woman who suffers from a form of dwarfism…sorry, but I’m not going to spend $100+ to hear a little girl sing especially since I do not feel that children should not be in that position, but that’s a separate issue

      • Just Jules

        kinda like the maturity of the young Dakota Fanning… some people are just ‘old soles’.. and this young girl can out sing most of the more recent American Idol contestants..

    • Jethrine

      It’s creepy because in places she was trying to sound older. If she is taught to let her natural voice shine through, it would not be creepy.

      • kitty

        True. She pushes trying to sound older. I hope she takes care of this gift of hers. Incidentally, I suggest people watch the video of 8-year old Beverly Sills on You Tube. She sings a more difficult piece and without simplification, but it sings it in a natural child voice, so she doesn’t sound creepy at all. Now, I do hope that Jackie doesn’t ruin her voice by singing too much and too soon.

      • Meg

        Actually her voice isn’t fully physically developed yet. Many classical voice teachers refuse to take children who have not hit puberty yet because singing demanding music can really hurt a voice in which the vocal folds have not completely developed. Beverly Sills had to retire 20 years earlier than many singers because she started singing too young. If they just wait the extra 4 or 5 years, it can make all the difference. Her voice already sounds tight which means she’s putting some strain on it.

      • kitty

        Meg – I agree with what you say in general, but Beverly Sills had a long and successful career and retired while still in her prime, but even if she had to retire early, it’s a bit of a stretch to say it was because of her early singing. If her early singing had really hurt her, surely the damage would have been apparent much sooner. Also, Beverly Sills as a child sounds like a gifted child and not like an adult – she sings with a child’s voice and with excellent technique and with no strain. Unlike Jackie, who is pushing her voice trying to sound older.

    • Adrienne cogil

      Absolutely amazing voice. I was shocked. What was creepy was the Magic Guy with the eyes. Poor Howie, scared him to death with germs.

      • Mandi Dolle

        Dan Sperry <3

    • lolwat

      I remember when Dan Sperry used to perform for birthday parties and even my /church/ back when I was little. Looks like he’s struck gold!

    • Sharon Osbore

      This show proves America has a little talent that people who don’t get out much mistake for real talent.

  • LadyJNewYork

    WOWWWW!!! I got “goosebumps”, oh my goodness now that’s SANGING..my wow!! I’m in awe at her voice at 10 years old! WOW, she’s the next Susan Boyle, for real!! Best to her

    • Sharon Osbore

      except she is not old or ugly or on public assistance

      • Al

        She is opposite. too young, too cute and parent assistance instead.

  • Kacey

    I voted for Dan Sperry, personally. He seriously knows how to work a camera and he’s creepy, but I didn’t want to look away. The mask to bird thing at the beginning was a really cool, eye catching way to start it. Good, good stuff. I really want to see what else he can do.

    • AndrewJ

      Loved Dan Sperry. That was an awesome trick, and he certainly knows how to captivate an audience.

      • Dash

        What an awesome way to eplaxin this—now I know everything!

    • AliFran

      I just couldn’t watch him, he grossed me out completely.

      • Sharon Osbore

        I couldn’t watch anyone. This show blows!

    • Jethrine

      It was too creepy and I did look away. Not my idea of entertainment.

    • tkl

      I love love love love Dan Sperry.

  • AD

    “I’m skeptical, not because Jackie lacks talent but because perfectly packaged adorable blonde children can only surprise us so much.” What difference does it make that she is blonde. She has amazing talent, especially as a 10 year old and that’s it. Blonde, white, black, asian, who cares!?! Enough with the racism.

    • sushifox

      LOL did you read the next two sentences? Race has nothing to do with it. The reason she is not the next Susan Boyle is because Susan Boyle had a very real, powerful moment not because of her lovely singing, but because she walked out and looked frumpy and clueless and unattractive, and everyone was smirking because they were sure she wasn’t really talented and they were preparing to mock the woman. And then she sang and everyone’s jaws dropped and they all looked simply stunned, and then they started cheering her. She defied their expectations in a victory for the humble everywoman. With Jackie, though, we’re used to seeing pretty blonde people (or pretty any people, but especially blonde in this country) succeeding in Hollywood so she doesn’t defy expectations at all, except for her age. And let’s face it, this show has featured numerous very talented child singers, so even that’s not as unexpected and moving as Susan Boyle’s moment. That’s the difference.

      • goldaun

        agree with you sushifox, you said it so well.

  • Laurie

    A “God given” gift!!!! Extradinary!!!!!!

  • jelkie

    I thought she was creepy too – I found it difficult to watch her. I did like the magician and the first group who sang.

  • Nancy Anne

    That young angel has been truly blessed with a God given talent. She truly is a prodigy. She’s a beautiful, obviously shy little girl with a voice that could melt a concert hall. Simply amazing!!!!

    • Sherrie

      Nancy..YOU SAID IT ALL…What a prodigy that little child is..I feel she’s the winner now..thought it might be Michael but I feel she might of just blown Michael and Taylor out of the water last night. WHAT A LITTLE ANGEL!!!!

      • Mark R

        You folks no little about Jackie and her family. All you need to know is that you are witnessing a once in a lifetime phenomena that goes well beyond singing. People around the world have been inspired and lifted up by her gift. That is the whole story and what will continue to be the whole story. The way people react to Jackie says way more about them than it does about Jackie or her family. And in a world this big and over-wraught with every kind of evil, there are bound to be a few bad eggs out there, but many many more receptive souls.

    • cobagibu

      yes, but is this a “prodigy” that was born with the gift, or simply another case of parents seeing a talent in their child and pushing the child through so many lessons and so many hours of practising…yes her package stated she saw “phantom” and wanted to sing, but it “conviently” didn’t state how much she practiced…AGT I guess learned their lesson from last year when the little 5yrold singer came on and admitted she was in class after class and spent hour after hour practising.

      • kitty

        cabogibu – it’s not even the worst problem that she is spending time on lessons but that she may be hurting her future voice. There are many fields where it is vital to start early to achieve anything, but voice is not one of them. Most of voice teachers I talked with told me it’s not advisable to start serious voice lessons until 12, some say even later, but before that it should only be some breath support (so that not to hurt the voice by singing incorrectly) and basic musicianship. And she shouldn’t be straining trying to sing opera arias.

  • A fan

    Watch her numerous other YouTube videos on her channel, and you can see her progression. Nothing “creepy” about a natural talent like Jackie. And she is every bit as humble, gracious, and sweet as you saw on TV. Lip synching? No, she’s just that good!

    • John

      I did what you did and watched her performances since she was 7 and the progression is amazing…..This kid is the real deal.

  • darclyte

    The little girl and the magician were the best of the night. Will “Middle America” vote for a guy who seems scarier than Marilyn Manson and who seemingly deliberately taunted Howie? Since 4 goes thru, the others in the running are the a capella group, the male singer (who looks like Joaquin Phoenix,) and the pianist. The female singer who sang Carrie Underwood wasn’t very good, and shouldn’t have sang that song. If someone is going to sing Carrie, they need to change it up or it just seems like very poor karaoke. The rest of the acts were pretty weak and/or boring.

    • GS

      I used half my text votes for Dan Sperry and the other half for the last little girl. My 10 yr. old thought Dan was awesome and I have to say I agree. I’m very middle America here.

      • darclyte

        I hope that’s a good sign.

  • Tanner

    Dan Sperry was already on Masters of Illusion, doing the same exact trick. America’s got repeats!!

    • @Tanner

      quite a few of the acts have done other shows or released independent cd’s or are semi-professionals. I don’t think that disqualified them for competing here. The premise is not to find the newest artist; just one that can put on a great/successful show in Vegas.

      • darclyte

        Murray was one of the “professional magicians” who trained the “celebs” on Celebracadabra on VH-1 in 2008.

      • AliFran

        I honestly do not think Sperry is a good fit for a Vegas show. For one thing, you really need to be close up to see what he is doing, and there are a lot of people, like me, who would not be happy with a creepy face goth doing disgusting things with dental floss right in our face when we have paid money for a nice evening of entertainment. It’s sick stuff.

      • Jenn

        @AliFran – one would assume you know what kind of act you’re buying a ticket to. I think Sperry and his dark vibe are the perfect fit for a Vegas show, but hope that same vibe doesn’t keep him from getting the votes of the wider American audience.

      • AliFran

        You have a point, but if he is billed as a “Magic Act,” there could be lots of people who don’t know. I sure wasn’t expecting that, even though he looked gruesome as hell. But, hey, if you like to see a person gouge his eyes and trail his cheeks with fake blood…he’s your man.

      • Jenn

        Isn’t the “dark” vibe not so different from Cris Angel among others? Wasn’t/isn’t he successful in Vegas? Not to mention some of the weirdness in the Cirque de Soleil shows? like the naked one? I think knowing that variety of show is around, people probably do some amount of research about what they’re buying a ticket to in Vegas.

      • Rose

        @AliFran
        Okay babe, you’ve made it clear that macabre is not your cup of tea but that doesn’t negate the fact that Sperry’s act was incredibly well done. The guy’s got some serious stage presence and unique tricks that are harder to figure out than the other- tacky Andy Warhol doppelganger- magician on the roster. Sperry and Jackie are my personal favorites thus far. Oh, side note, the creepiness adds to the thrill of the act. And that’s what Vegas is all about, sugar.

  • KC

    Y’all may be vegetarian, but give me a meaty amateur over a plant (previously released album, already booked at Carnegie hall before being “discovered” on AGT) any day.

    • Jethrine

      what the H*ll are you talking about?

  • qtpii

    Jackie is amazing…..such a grown-up voice in such a small package. She could actually win the whole thing. The pianist was excellent, too – not a child prodigy now at 16, but I guess he was when he was younger. That kind of playing takes years of practice. The magician was good too; loved how he freaked out Howie – never saw anyone jump that fast and Sharon’s laughter was contagious.

  • René De Beaumarchais

    Please not a singer to win the show…

    • Normalman

      I kind of agree. There’s other venues for singers though at least in this kid’s case, she wouldn’t be an obvious fit for them. I was surprisingly amused by the jump roping kid. The piano player was talented but I also didn’t think the music he played was particularly entertaining – classical or not.

      Finally, why can’t we have a full recap for this show as seems to be done for every other reality show.

  • john_c

    I agree! not another singer.

    the first season winner and the last season winner were both singers and both were almost unheard of after their win.

  • GS

    She is great BUT as of now, my three favorites are Fighting Gravity, Haspop, and Michael Grimm (his voice is great). I would rather see someone different win. I can see a concert where I live but I would want to watch something really cool in Vegas. Fighting Gravity and Haspop would be great shows.

    • sherimoonzombie

      @GS – My faves too. We can hit all of those shows together. As long as Dan Sperry opens for any of them, I’m happy.

    • goldaun

      I love Fighting Gravity and It sure looks like a Vegas act to me!

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