Jackie Evancho And The Ghosts Of Angels Past

(originally posted on Culture Monster)

While you’re waiting to see if Jackie Evancho makes it through to the finals on America’s Got Talent (and Miss Mussel knows you all are), feast your ears on these other pint-sized wonders.

Julie Andrews had been singing with her parents on the stage in London for two years before she got her first professional gig at age 12 in a musical revue called Starlight Roof.

The gag was that every night, a Starlight performer would ask if anyone in the audience wanted a balloon animal. Andrews rushed up to the stage, the two would start chatting and Andrews would drop into the conversation that she sang a little. She would be given a moment in the spotlight and come out with “Je suis Titania” from the Thomas Ambroise opera “Mignon”….as one does in these situations. Obviously.

Fun Fact: The top note is the F that makes The Queen Of The Night aria so famous.

Bubbles Silverman began singing professionally at age 4 and later became Beverly Sills, a well-respected opera singer known for her coloratura. The fast scales and intricate patterns required for this type of singing are not everyone’s cup of tea but Sills seemed to have had a knack for it from the very beginning. Here is 8 year old Sills singing “Il Bacio” by Luigi Arditi in the 1937 film “Uncle Sal Solves It.”

In 1997, 11 year-old Welsh soprano Charlotte Church was invited onto Big, Big Talent to introduce her aunt Caroline. It was a bit of a set up, as Church had already become a minor sensation after singing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Pie Jesu’ over the phone to This Morning. She stole the show and 13 years later she has two kids and a yacht called Sketchy. Oh, and also three platinum records.

Andrew Johnston was head chorister at Carlisle Cathedral in the north of England and had been singing with the choir since age 6. He reached the finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2008 and ended up with a $2 million record contract with Simon Cowell’s label Syco. Not bad for a kid from the projects in a forgotten part of Britain.

And, for comparison purposes – here’s Jackie from last night’s AGT show.

Is Jackie on par with Sills and Andrews or where things really better in the good old days?

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