She Placed Second On 'America's Got Talent' 8 Years Ago, Now She's A Best-Selling Artist


In 2010, a 10-year-old girl from Pittsburgh, PA took the world by storm when she belted out Giacomo Puccini's timeless opera song "O Mio Babbino Caro" on the America's Got Talent stage.

In her audition clip, Jacqueline Marie "Jackie" Evancho said she would show "America that the best things come in small packages," and she did just that using nothing but her angelic voice.

Jackie, whose interest in singing was sparked by the film version of The Phantom of the Opera, went on to wow the judges and the viewers at home week after week during the fifth season of the show.

In the end, the child prodigy would fall just short of first place and winning the one million dollar prize, but coming in second was just start of her successful career.

After the show ended, Evancho took some singing lessons and continued to build up experience by performing at local events and festivals in Pennsylvania.

She created even more exposure for herself by starting a YouTube channel, performing with David Foster, and later competing at the 15th annual U.S.A. World Showcase Talent Competition, where she also finished in second place.

After catching the attention of the music industry's major record labels, Evancho eventually signed a deal with Columbia Records, and released an EP titled O Holy Night.

The record topped the Billboard Classical Albums chart, peaked to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 as well as on the Holiday Albums chart, making her the best-selling debut artist of 2010 as well as the youngest solo artist to ever debut in the top 10. She also broke a record by being the youngest solo artists to ever go platinum in the U.S. with over 230,000 copies sold in its first week.

Evancho became a household name soon after, appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Today Show, The View, and Fox and Friends.

The young girl followed up the success of her EP by releasing a full-length album called Dream with Me in 2011. This time, the album was certified gold and once again, it made it to the top of the charts.

Evancho held her first solo concert shortly after the album's release, and it was the most watched program on PBS that year. She later embarked on her first solo tour across the U.S. to promote the album. That same year, she released another Christmas album, Heavenly Christmas, and as expected, the album and its singles were chart-toppers.

She also starred in campaigns for GUESS Kids, Justice Girls Clothing, and other advertisements for major brands.

Over the next two years, the opera prodigy released four more full-length records, the most recent one, Two Hearts, came out in 2017.

Unlike her past work, the teenager's latest album is a classical crossover with pop songs. She has been touring throughout 2018.

Now an 18-year-old, Evancho is expanding her portfolio by dipping her toes in the business side of the entertainment world.

"The biggest change I feel I've undergone is just the enthusiasm I have for my career and all aspects of it," Evancho, who admited she's gotten wiser and more mature, told People. "When I was a little girl all I wanted to do was play or sing...I was also afraid of the business side of the entertainment world. I never understood it. Now I love it all."

After years of relying on her parents, Evancho now lives all on her own in New York City. The idea of leaving home was initially intimidating, but her manager convinced her that it would be the right move for her career.

"My manager ended up convincing me and I am so glad he did because the level of creativity in New York is amazing and makes me feel so at home," she told the outlet. "I'm most excited about the independence and the opportunity for me to discover who I am since all I'll have to talk to is myself and my dogs."

Despite all of her success, Evancho has had to face harsh criticism not just from music critics, but only from people on the internet.

Both she and her family had to deal with backlash after her performance of the national anthem at President Donald Trump's inauguration. They have also been subjected to nasty comments over her sister, Juliet, being transgender.

Still, Evancho and her family made it through the hard times, and the singer credits this unwavering support they have for each other as what keeps her grounded the more famous she gets.

"My family has helped me a lot, but I do have to say that growing up I always heard horror stories about people achieving some amount of fame and changing into something awful because of it. I never ever wanted that for myself," she said.

Now, the teen is working on her next album and promises to have "new material early next year."

She said she's finally in full control of the direction she wants to go in with her music, so fans should expect something a little different.

"It's an album of songs taken from contemporary Broadway musicals "“ like Hamilton, Greatest Showman, Dear Evan Hansen, etc," she teased. "As an 18-year-old, I feel I have something unique to say with these songs [and] people tend to take my ideas a bit more seriously with the new age."

We can't wait to hear Evancho's new, grown up sound. If her past achievements are any indication, we're sure this record will also make it to the top.

Do you remember watching Evancho on America's Got Talent?

Blair isn't a bestselling author, but she has a knack for beautiful prose. When she isn't writing for Shared, she enjoys listening to podcasts.