Jackie Evancho said she is focusing on the love from her family and fans amid criticism over her decision to perform the national anthem at Donald Trump's inauguration Friday.
"I have a lot of positivity from my family and that’s really what matters to me," Evancho, 16, said today on "Good Morning America." "All of my true fans have been there for me and supportive and that’s really all I need, so I’m sticking to it."
The Trump inauguration's official Twitter account tweeted last month that Evancho would perform the national anthem on Inauguration Day, and the teenager's decision has received backlash on social media ever since. Many other entertainers, including, most recently, Jennifer Holliday, have backed out of the event in protest of the president-elect.
Evancho said her sister, Juliet, will not be attending the inauguration because she "has personal things going on right now."
"I wish I could be there for her, too, and she wishes she was here for me, but we’re there in spirit," Evancho said.
Jackie Evancho, a sixteen-year-old classical-crossover singer, became the first performer to announce her participation in Donald Trump’s notorious hard sell of an inaugural celebration. She broke the news on the “Today” show. Evancho has a sweetly timid poise about her; her long blond waves shook as she laughed, shyly, about the staggering invitation she had received from the President-elect.
The anchors spoke the way adults speak to impressive, well-behaved children: “Oh, my goodness!” they exclaimed. “Wow.” Al Roker asked Evancho if the “roller coaster” of her career had sunk in yet. “No,” she said, smiling. She sounded rueful and honest. “I kind of live in the moment. It doesn’t really register until, like, years in the future.”
Evancho’s first big break arrived, in 2010, courtesy of “America’s Got Talent,” then in its fifth season. The producers had instituted a round of YouTube auditions, allowing aspiring contestants to submit their tapes online. From that slush pile, the judges plucked eleven talented performers to compete in a special round of elimination; the twelfth contestant in the YouTube round would be chosen by popular vote.
Evancho, who had been rejected from the show after two previous live auditions, was that twelfth contestant—elected via populist loophole, in the populist audition round, for a proudly populist reality-TV show. Her audition tape, in which she delivers a supernaturally blissful version of the hymn “Panus Angelicus” for an unseen audience at a nursing home, has accumulated more than four million views.
It’s just over a minute, and Evancho is tiny and angelic, wearing modest gold hoop earrings and a ponytail frothed into big, stiff curls. The aura of unreality that has only recently, as she has matured, begun to fade from her performances is startling. Her voice is so remarkable and adult-like that she seems like a randomly selected vessel for it. She seems gifted in the literal, God-fearing sense.
On the same day that Evancho made her announcement on “Today,” her older sister Juliet published a personal essay in Teen Vogue, headlined “How Juliet Evancho Came Out as Transgender to Her Family, and the Entire World.” In it, Juliet, who’s now eighteen, explains that she first articulated her transgender identity when she was eleven—around the same time that Jackie was becoming famous on reality TV.
Her sister’s fame “put our entire family under a microscope,” Juliet writes. Even so, the entire family was supportive. At the end of her piece, she thanks God for giving her a “large platform” to share her story of transgender self-determination.
She doesn’t mention what the size of her platform depends on—the fact that her sister is singing the national anthem at the dawning of a political era widely expected to roll back the nascent, uneven advances in trans rights that were won during the Obama Administration. (In the days after Trump’s election, calls to L.G.B.T.Q. suicide hotlines dramatically spiked.)
President-elect Donald Trump won’t be the only figure on the inaugural stage January 20th whose career has been boosted by a reality TV show.
Performing the national anthem at the inaugural festivities will be Jackie Evancho, a 16-year-old classical-pop singer who placed second on America’s Got Talent in 2010. While many were surprised by the announcement, Trump reaffirmed his fandom of the young star on Twitter, claiming that the announcement of the inaugural gig boosted her album sales.
While the inauguration will be the first time some listeners hear Evancho perform, for her young age, the singer has a surprisingly prolific career. Famed music producer David Foster helped launch the star’s career in 2009, and by the next year, she was singing for judges Piers Morgan and Howie Mandel on AGT. Since then, Evancho has released an EP and six albums, including covers of classic movie songs and several Christmas collections, and became the youngest performer to headline Lincoln Center in New York City solo.
When Jackie Evancho gave her best for America's Got Talent, she gained a strong foothold in her young career. Since then, she has released a strong of popular albums. A few of hem have been Christmas albums, a few popular covers, and one with some original content. Her last album, the Christmas best-seller, Someday At Christmas was a success. It also completed her contractual obligations to Sony Music. That, in turn, brought up a wealth of bidding options for her to review. When the reviews of label strengths were completed, young Miss Jackie Evancho elected to stay with Sony Records.
As a result of her new signing, Jackie Evancho has revealed a completed album, a chip that was no doubt used in the bargaining wars. The new album is being called Two Hearts. It is being planned for March 31. As a bonus, she has Pop songs recorded that are expected to attach to the new album when it's released as an EP, separate from the material used for this new album.
As news of this impending Jackie Evancho album takes hold – and word of it is building strongly – the fanbase is becoming quite excited. For me, I have hope that she will be a successful presence in her current work in Classical crossover. Her unique blend of Classical covers with a strong Pop feel has already netted her immense respect from across the globe. When Two Hearts release, i will bet that she gains even more ground in her quest for a long, fruitful, and sustained career.