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Choose one for Jackie Evancho: Stardom now or a real singing career later?

September 8, 2010 | 12:43 pm

I was delighted to discover during Tuesday night's "America's Got Talent" that my handwringing about Jackie Evancho's falsely adult sound and the evils of network television was premature. Her performance of the "Pie Jesu" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 "Requiem" was astonishing in all the right ways. Listen on the clip above. The sound was natural and uncovered, vibrato was achieved with very little wagging of the chin (a dead giveaway for poor technique) and her phrasing and intonation are the envy of many a professional.

Much of the anxiety music teachers express when they talk about Evancho's voice is worry about it being permanently damaged before it reaches full potential. If the 10-year-old girl wishes to pursue a career as an opera singer, this is a justifiable concern, but what if she doesn't want to wait until she's 30 or 40 (the age most opera singers become established) for the money to roll in?

Evancho has a rare natural talent and will have it for the rest of her life. But the Simon Cowells of the world don't trade in futures. The inevitable Christmas record will sell millions of copies, but then what?

If Evancho follows the same road as Charlotte Church, she will be worth $40 million by the time she finishes high school -- piles more than she would ever make as an opera singer.  By that point she likely will have destroyed her voice -- but she would no longer need it to earn a living.

The Julie Andrews model is: perform in a weekly revue and on radio while taking singing lessons; move to minor music roles in teenage years and then debut on Broadway at 19.

Evancho's parents have a tough decision to make even if she doesn't advance, especially since child stars are very rarely successful as adult performers.

Since "America's Got Talent" viewers are voting to decide Jackie's fate, she is, in a way, our responsibility. If you were her parents, what would you do? Jump for the sure thing (record deal now) or wait to see what happens when she is an adult and can make her own decision about her voice?

Discuss in our comments section below.

-- Marcia Adair



Vote: Is Jackie Evancho changing her sound?

Jackie Evancho's voice strikes a chord

Before Jackie Evancho: Remembering Julie Andrews, Beverly Sills and other young vocal prodigies

Hear Jackie Evancho, the 10-year-old with an operatic voice

Comments () | Archives (66)

Jackie's voice is amazing. I would like to hear her sing,
"Some Day My Prince Will Come" from Walt Disney productions. She is a very talented young lady.

I hope Jackie does not follow in Michael Jackson's footsteps. I didn't like to see her compared in any way to him. So many of the promising young people seem to go the drug path which will kill any chance they have in the future. Good luck to Jackie in the finals. She will have a career whether she wins or not.

signed: mverk

For the gentleman who claims this "obviously free, strong-willed and independent thinking young woman" should make the decision on her own-may I remind you that this "woman" is 10 years old? I understand that some children have emotional maturity beyond their years but very little maturity can be garnered in only 10 years of life. By this thinking, if your 10 year old daughter comes to you and says "I have decided I should start dating", you would say that was OK if that is what she wants? There are many factors to be taken into consideration in this situation and I believe you are over-simplifying the gravity of the decision and the life changes it will bring.

Amazing Grace would be great for her to sing. For but the grace of God go I. Jackie has already stated in an NY post interview that she will be wearing an even bigger dress and sing even higher notes. This leads me to believe that she will sing Phantom of the Opera. Either Wishing you were somehow here again or Think of Me are the choices. I personally think she sounded great on them both. Some have suggested that if she does Phantom of the Opera that Prince Poppycock should play the Phantom. That would be the only time he did anything good. Andrew Loyd Webber would cast her as Christine in an instant.

I can't believe this journalist is saying that maybe she doesn't want to wait "FOR THE MONEY TO ROLL IN" -

For anyone to think that money is the first consideration this extraordinarily talented girl would have is scary.

If anything, it's this mentality exactly that her parents need to protect her from, before anybody tries to exploit her like Judy Garland or Michael Jackson.

@Marilyn Verkler, who wrote: "For the gentleman who claims this "obviously free, strong-willed and independent thinking young woman" should make the decision on her own-may I remind you that this "woman" is 10 years old? I understand that some children have emotional maturity beyond their years but very little maturity can be garnered in only 10 years of life."

Marilyn, I don't take issue with that at all. What is less obvious, yet more surprising to me is what I perceive as general lack of maturity, focus, and ability to dream prevalent in so many people who are many times Jackie's age. Far too much fear-based, cowardly thinking masquerades as elderly wisdom. So many fear-based fools who refuse to ever attempt to tread where angels tread, for fear of being labeled the Fool Rushing In.

As a single father of three grown children, two daughters and a son, I was constantly lambasted, criticized by cowards for what was perceived as reckless allowances. The fruits of that proved them all wrong, and I don't envy a single one of them for what became of those who had to endure all their Elder Wisdom.

Another news flash: it's a short life already. For everyone. You are born, your life is over in a flash, regardless how long you live, and we are all immature relative to eternity, and when it boils down to absolutes. You don't have to aim high, early, or even aim at all, but when you unwittingly become one of the "tigers [who] come at night, and...tear [their] hopes asunder", I am more than happy to step in, slap around, and generally offend.

Child stars are rarely successful as adults. Children rarely sing very well. Sounds like children have no hope.

On the other hand, Jackie Evancho might be the next Judy Gumm. Opps. I'm sorry ---Judy Garland.

In addition to possessing this tremendous vocal gift, Jackie is also very mature for her age. She is very poised, confident, well-spoken and polite.

Although she is only 10, I think she knows what she wants and is mature enough to make that decision. Her parents also seem to be very stable, thoughtful people as well and will provide her any guidance that she needs.

I think the public should vote for her if they consider her the best talent in the competition period. Everything else is up to Jackie and her parents.

Check this latest interview. Toward the middle of the interview, she said it loud and clear "she is not an opera singer". As far as this concern, AGT list her as an opera singer since they think people don't know what is classical crossover. So only PP is real an opera singer.


She is 10 years old and she is probably clueless as far as knowledge of business. I am sure Simon will make her sing something $$$ which Jackie sure is capable to sing many thing other song that opera. I think it is certain Ms Santa Jackie classical X'mas album is coming to town very soon neck to neck with Susan Boyle and Andrea Bocelli over the holiday.

If Americas Got Talent is looking for pure raw talent, then why are they skipping over the fact that Jackie Evancho has already made a record? I was surprised when I was just looking around and her name popped up. She has a great talent no doubt. But she is on the wrong show.

Her performance tonight was heavenly........

I don't know why people are bringing up the "raw talent" argument. Her CD was self produced rather than a major label. Besides do a search on Michael Grimm and he has a few CDs out too. He even opened for Heart. At age 10 she has more of claim on being a raw talent than the older performers who have been around for 20-30 years.

The show vetted the participants so she is making the most of her opportunity according to the show's rules. Not what we believe should be the rules. Let's judge on their performances not the politics at this point. Unless we're trying to sabotage the voting with phony arguments. Then carry on. lol

I think she should ride w/the rising tide re her career prospects. Five years from now, the those with power and influence will likely be saying "Jackie Who" anyway. Perhaps Jerry Reed said it best in his glittering pop tune when he sang, "When You're Hot, You're Hot."

I voted for her but as a mother I think she is too young for what was to come. Her life in the next year would have been too directed by the music industry. She has many years ahead of her and life has just begun for her.
What a beautiful, talented exceptional person she is! Best of luck Jackie! The World will keep their eyes on you! God Bless and watch over you sweetheart!

Run, Forrest, run! ...and sing, Jackie, sing!

I was disappointed that this "GIFT from GOD", Jackie, lost this thing, YET she is poised on the brink of a JOYOUS career in Opera not seen since Beverly Sills, or films' Julie Andrews or Kathryn Grayson , to name but a few before her. There is a QUALITY in this young lady; admittedly I am glad she can remain tenderly handled by wise and loving parents and her coach..and not tossed into the madness of a Vegas marquee.. Greater things WILL be had by Jackie, and I expect many world audiences will delight in this "Fresh Breath of Springtime", Miss Evancho! She will go far, and I will be first in line when the tickets come our way!

The first time I heard this little girl sing, I almost feel out of my chair, and then tears came to my eyes. Her voice reached deep into my heart and soul, I haven't been that moved since that song ,time to say good by, that was played at my dads funeral. This little girl has been touch by god, and her voice should be heard all over the world. Our world is in trouble, and a miracle such as this girl can make live would living for. I believe if everyone in involved in her careen, would bring her along slowly, and not burn her out,she should become the best vocal singer, ever to walk this earth. This child a world treasure and wherever she goes she will be joy to others, its not about the money, this child has been chosen by god to bring happiness to this dreary world, we need a hero, and this new hero came in a small package.let her sing, I can't wait to by her first cd, and she will become the riches entertainer that ever was. Bring it on Jackie, your voice brings happiness to the world and the world will rejoice and shower you with gifts of love, and riches. A word of advice, stay child like in your heart and even when you grow to an adult,never forget what you were given, it was your innocence that people also feel for and your voice that will keep people hungry for your songs, god bless you little one, and do the right thing and listen to your heart and soul and your parents. To the parents, you also are special people you were blessed to bear this child, Mary and Joseph was given Jesus to take care of. Keep her safe and enjoy your gift. A deeply moved fan. Frankie

The good thing is, there are so many people here who know what is best for her.

She can do both now. I would not sign a recording contract, I would look into the possibility of a fee like 100k for the rights to present one when she is ready. Refundable of course at anytime. Weed them out per say, lot more into that one but you can figure it out in your own way. I would start a submission program from writers to submit songs and music to her and let her play with lots of things. She could stay young and record in a happy atmosphere. Never committed to any style she could become who she wants to be. The promoting of other unknowns and such is marketing value in it's own. Fans would actually get to vote for songs to get sung and such. All this could be done on her website with ease and again be a lot of fun for her. Giggling with her friends on which one to sing next. I do feel that listening to all these people who think they know what will happen to her voice is a waste of time. I know nothing about training a singer but I would bet that there are as many ways as there are teachers. With the submissions she could sing them in her own way and never harm herself. Well thats the condensed version of my opinion.

What a stupid exercise. Jackie Evaancho isn't some poor waif that has no one to take care of her. She will do fine and have a fifty year career.

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