They called her “Wonder Girl.”
“We don’t think there’s ever been a superhero whose strength comes in the form of a powerhouse voice, but I talked to someone who could fit the bill,” said co-anchor Elizabeth Vargas as she introduced the show’s segment about Jackie.
“She’s gone from YouTube all the way to the top of the charts and she’s only 11 years old,” said Vargas, referring to Jackie as “a bona fide superstar with a top-selling album [Dream With Me], legions of fawning fans and a stunning sound.”
Asked if she was surprised to hear that she is considered super human, Jackie replied:
“It does surprise me because whenever I listen to myself sing, all I hear is an 11-year-old girl.”
Vargas asked Jackie when she started to notice her voice. Jackie told her it was when she had just turned 8 years old and saw the movie, Phantom of the Opera.
“We loved it,” Jackie said.
“Jackie began singing the movie’s songs in the mirror,” Vargas said. “But at first, no one noticed that Jackie had a special gift.”
Mike Evancho, the singing sensation’s father, said: “To my wife and I, we thought that’s how all 8-year-olds sounded.”
“You thought all 8-year-old girls sounded like that?” Vargas asked.
“Yeah,” her father Mike chuckled, “we didn’t know.”
The show said Jackie’s star started to shine after her mother entered her in a local contest.
“It ended up that I was the first runner-up to a 20-year-old opera singer and that was kind of the sign that showed my family that I had the talent,” Jackie said.
She was referring to the Kean Idol Amateur Talent Contest held annually at the Kean Theatre on the St. Barnabas Health System campus in Richland. [ for a story about the Kean Idol award named in her honor.]
Then Jackie auditioned for NBC’s America’s Got Talent.
“Amazingly she didn’t make the cut,” Vargas said.
Jackie then auditioned through YouTube and was voted the audience favorite, which gave her a spot on last summer’s show.
When she first performed on America’s Got Talent, the judges and audience gave her a standing ovation. Judge Piers Morgan called it “one of the most extraordinary performances I’ve ever seen on America’s Got Talent” and the crowd roared its approval.
Vargas asked if Jackie was surprised by the judges’ reaction and the standing ovation.
“I was surprised. And that’s why I cried. I couldn’t believe it.”
The powerful operatic voice was so extraordinary, some literally did not believe it came out of a little 10-year-old girl.
Asked if Jackie is upset that some think she is lip-synching, her father said, “No. It’s more of a compliment now. Because if you’re being accused of lip-syncing, you must be good.”
20/20 interviewed Dr. Clark Rosen, director of the UPMC Voice Center, about Jackie’s extraordinary voice.
He said it is not her lungs or vocal chords that make the difference.
“What puts this all together to make this amazing voice is Jackie’s brain,” he said. “Jackie’s brain coordinates the lungs, the throat, the vocal chords and puts it all together into an amazing voice.”
Vargas asked Jackie what it feels like to be onstage singing.
“Actually, I can’t describe it. It feels like I’m possessed,” she said. “I’m possessed by the music.”
The 20/20 show portrayed Jackie at home as a normal kid – playing piano, arguing with her brother as they played video games, playing outdoors and hanging out with her three siblings.
Vargas closed the interview by asking Jackie about the “best part about being able to sing.” Jackie answered with her signature smile:
“The best part is just being able to show the world that miracles do happen.”