Sunday, September 19, 2010

a gift?

Sarah Brightman and Jackie

Above is a photo of world-famous soprano opera singer Sarah Brightman, and even more famous 10 year-old, America’s Got Talent contestant, Jackie Evancho.

For the past few months, Americans have been gushing over the talent of this opera prodigy.  “Isn’t she great?!” was heard everywhere. 

But, what we really meant was “Isn’t she great (for a 10 year-old)!?”  Like Susan Boyle, the ugly duckling singing darling of of last year, we judge people in the context of who they are, where they are, not in the context of the general world of talent.  They are unexpected.

There are many, many unknown, unheard of opera singers who are much better than Jackie Evancho.  But, they are not 10.  They are not wearing patent leather shoes and playing Barbie.  And, that’s why she’s so special.

That is not to diminish the skills and marketing prowess of the Jackie Evancho machine.  All you have to do is go to and you can find out all about it.

I worry for her.  I worry because when she answers a question, I hear an adult voice coaching her what to say, what to think.  I don’t see the joy of a child.   

Please, mom and dad, let her be a kid for a while.  Please don’t make this gift a curse.


  1. Tom,

    I don't agree with you at all. Where do you get she was coached with her answers!! And I might say her talent for singing is by far better then you give credit. You'll the one that needs coached!!

  2. Hi John,
    This was not an attack on Jackie Evancho. And, I'm sorry if it sounds as if it is. I believe she is very talented, especially for a 10 year-old.
    My worry is for her well-being as a child, not as a prodigy. I hope I'm wrong.

  3. Your concern warrants merit Tom, however I personally feel if the parents are well grounded so will their daughter be. Two examples of childhood successes that come to mind are that of classical singer Charlotte (Reed) Church and actress Jodie Foster who developed into two well adjusted adults and very independent thinkers. -Brenda-