7 things to know about teenage Inauguration singer Jackie Evancho

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 09:00PM
Jackie Evancho performs at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards on Thursday, June 12, 2014 in New York. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
When Donald Trump is inaugurated as president on Friday, he'll have classical singing sensation Jackie Evancho performing the National Anthem. Evancho has plenty of accomplishments under her belt, and she isn't even old enough to vote.

Who is Jackie Evancho, and why was she chosen for this big performance? Here are 7 things to know about the teen star.

She started out as the "world's youngest opera singer"

Evancho, who was born in 2000 in the Pittsburgh suburbs, started taking singing lessons at age eight. She earned a reputation as a singer quickly. Within two years, according to Billboard, she had "breezed through a local singing contest, started her own YouTube channel, released her independent debut album, Prelude to a Dream, and held the record as the world's youngest opera singer."

Her big break came at age 10

Evancho was 10 years old when she came into the national spotlight on America's Got Talent. The young, angelic singer wowed with classical and opera songs, and she came in second place on the competition.

This is not the first time she's performed for a president

President Barack Obama joins 10-year-old singing prodigy Jackie Evancho, center, Santa Claus at the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 9, 2010.


In 2010, a young Evancho performed for President Barack Obama. She was a part of the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony and even appeared onstage with Obama and Santa.

She once met Trump

Shortly after winning America's Got Talent, Evancho met and performed for the then-businessman Donald Trump. She said it was a great experience.

"When I met him, he was extremely polite, very nice, and thankful for me to be there and perform for him," she recollected when she appeared on Good Morning America on Wednesday.

She is more in line with traditional inauguration anthem singers

Though inaugurations past have featured superstar performers, they usually sing other songs, not the national anthem. According to GMA, Beyonce was an unconventional choice to sing the "Star-Spangled Banner" in 2012. Typically it has been performed by a choir, making the classical singer a more traditional choice.

She has faced backlash

Evancho's sister is transgender, and Evancho has faced criticism on social media for agreeing to perform, with some calling her "selfish" and "a traitor." Though her sister will not be attending the ceremony, Evancho told GMA that she and her sister support each other.

"I had a lot of positivity from my family, and that's really all that matters to me," she said. "And 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."

Evancho is hardly the first singer to face pressure for agreeing to perform at Trump's inauguration. Broadway star Jennifer Holliday was initially scheduled to perform at an inauguration event, but said over the weekend that she would not be going, out of support for the LGBT community.

She's focusing on the performance

Evancho takes the responsibility of performing the notoriously difficult song seriously. She has been practicing hard, she told GMA, even rehearsing in the cold so she can be ready in case of chilly weather.

"It's such a big, grand song," she said. "You really don't want to mess that up."
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