The opera prodigy — who rose to fame in 2010 when she was the runner-up on America’s Got Talent at the age of 10 —says she’s grown older and wiser since turning 18 earlier this year, but she’s still very much a kid at heart.
“It feels kinda the same as 17 at first, but then all the responsibilities come hitting you all at once and I suddenly wish I was 17 again,” the “Pedestal” singer tells PEOPLE. But, she says of adulthood, “I love it, I get more control of my career now which is amazing.”
For Jackie, maturity has never been measured by her age, rather it’s been built by her attitude over the experiences and bumps she’s faced in her career thus far.
“The biggest change I feel I’ve undergone is just the enthusiasm I have for my career and all aspects of it,” she says about the biggest change in her career since she first began her journey. “When I was a little girl all I wanted to do was play or sing.”
Jackie Evancho was 10 years old when the world first heard her incredible voice on season 5 of "America's Got Talent," delivering performances that judge Howie Mandel labeled "too good to be true."
Eight years later, the "AGT" runner-up is ready to speak out about the ugly side of child stardom that usually remains hidden from the public.
In a lengthy Facebook message posted on Jan. 23, the soprano singer, now 18, said she no longer has "the fear to stay silent."
The teen now lives in New York City and is competing on "America's Got Talent: The Champions," noting, that the "reason I wanted to do the show was to walk onto that stage as a young woman and show the world I am no longer a child."
The classical singer rose to fame when she was just 10 years old, as a contestant on season five of America's Got Talent in 2010. She's now 18 years old, competing on AGT: The Champions, and opening up about how childhood stardom shaped the young woman she is today.
In an emotional note posted to Facebook on Wednesday, Evancho said she wanted to continue the "healing process" and insisted that she no longer has the "fear to stay silent." She recalled experiencing "dangers of being in the spotlight," like the "men out there who wanted to hurt me." "Some even went to the extreme of claiming they were priests and other disarming occupations to gain trust and easy access backstage," Evancho wrote. "But clearly their intentions weren’t so pure."
"Growing up that way wasn’t easy," she said, though praised her parents for being "smart" about every decision they made for her. "Through the years I have developed some flaws and battled some demons, from being sheltered from aspects of a 'normal' child’s life. I am extremely awkward and shy around those my age. I trust absolutely no one unless they are family or have passed through years of my life without hurting me in some way."
Nearly one week after she discussed the dark side of child stardom, Jackie Evancho is opening up about another personal battle: her eating disorder.
“I’m just a perfectionist at heart and that includes myself and what I see I am. I want it to be perfect to me and unfortunately I can’t do that. But I do think that growing up in the spotlight, being a kid, being surrounded by all of these adult women who are beautiful and slender and tall was really difficult for me because I wanted to be that and I wasn’t,” the America’s Got Talent star said in an interview with Access on Tuesday.
“And then I started to hit puberty and I got my womanly curves and everything. It was just, for lack of a better word, triggering. It was really difficult for me to accept,” she admitted.
“I think that my body was changing in a way that I was hoping wouldn’t happen,” 18-year-old said of puberty. At the age of 10, the classical singer was named the runner-up on season 5 of AGT in 2010, and she is now competing on America’s Got Talent: The Champions.
Jackie Evancho may have lost season 5 of “America’s Got Talent” back in 2010 but she has been a big winner when it comes to record sales and concert sellouts. She is hoping to be the first-ever winner of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions.” As you can see from the teaser video above she sings “Music of the Night” flawlessly during her audition.
Jackie is one of the 10 acts appearing on the February 4 episode of this “AGT” spin-off. She is hoping that her rendition of this show-stopper from the Tony-winning musical “Phantom of the Opera” will get the Golden Buzzer from new host Terry Crews. Among the other nine acts with the same goal is the reigning “AGT” winner, magician Shin Lim.