Jackie Evancho: ‘Talent’ star shines

Youth Impact Report 2010: Up Next

Preternaturally gifted junior soprano Jackie Evancho, 10, dazzled audiences of all ages with her full-bodied vocals on the most recent season of “America’s Got Talent.” Teaming for an ambitious duet with her hero Sarah Brightman, she sang to a dramatic second-place finish.

“Talent’s” exec producer Jason Raff says pint-size Evancho’s big ability struck many viewers as downright unreal.

“I will never forget how many times my phone rang after that first performance (of Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro”). People thought she was lip-synching,” Raff says. “The person who always goes to the finals is the person who surprises you. Jackie is what the competition shows are about: Cute little girl, what’s she going to sing? The first note comes out, and you’re like, ‘Oh, my God.’ You’re surprised, and that’s what captivates people to watch her.”

Evancho’s mom discovered her daughter’s rich voice almost by accident in 2008, when Jackie began crooning with the family’s “Phantom of the Opera” DVD. Training and talent competition victories followed. Musician-producer David Foster caught Jackie’s sound and invited her to join him for a live performance before her NBC turn.

Up next for Jackie: a Christmas EP, “O Holy Night,” to be released by Syco/Columbia Records.