A nine-year old Filipino-American girl auditioned for the popular talent search series “America’s Got Talent” this Tuesday (Wednesday, Manila time) and mesmerized judges and audiences alike with a soaring performance of Andra Day’s “Rise Up.”
The powerful audition piece of Angelica Hale, daughter of a Filipina who hails from Iligan City and currently based in Atlanta, drew wild cheers and a standing ovation from all four “America’s Got Talent” judges — Howie Mandel, Mel B. Heidi Klum, and the usually hard-to-please Simon Cowell.
As of posting time, the viral video of Angelica’s audition had generated over 18 million views on the show’s Facebook page and over a million views on YouTube. Prior to her performance, the little girl told the judges that she wanted to be the next Whitney Houston.
If she sounded very much like a seasoned singer, it’s because Angelica has been singing since she was two and has been joining local singing competitions since she was five.
“It became apparent early on in my life that I was meant to become a singer. When I was just two years old, I began to sing along to popular songs on the radio,” Angelica posted on her Facebook page.
But more than her triumphant audition, what makes Angelica’s story more inspiring is that she is also a survivor of a life-threatening disease. When she was only four years old, she developed a medical condition that turned out to be a bacterial infection in her lungs which later progressed to double pneumonia.
Angelica’s illness also severely damaged her kidneys. As a result, she had to be put on life support and needed kidney transplant. Fortunately, her mother Eva turned out to be a perfect match for her and after Eva donated her kidney to her daughter, Angelica fully recovered and went on to pursue what many see now as a very promising singing career.
“This experience taught us to never take your future for granted. Things can and often do change in the blink of an eye,” Angelica further wrote, reflecting on the episode that almost took her life.
Angelica still has a long way to go on “America’s Got Talent,” but if she goes on to win it all, she will become the second straight child sensation to win in the competition. Last year, 12-year-old singer and ukulele player Grace Vanderwaal bested a talented field that included a mentalist, a magician, a contortionist, a comedian, and a juggler.
“America’s Got Talent” is not the only talent show that gave the thumbs up to Angelica’s performance. Rival show “The Voice” also shared Angelica’s audition on its Facebook page and simply posted, “The Voice approves.”
“America’s Got Talent” is set to air in the Philippines exclusively on RTL-CBS Entertainment.
Watch Angelica Hale’s “America’s Got Talent” audition here: