The votes have been counted and the results for this season of America’s Got Talent have been announced. Evie Clair, the 13-year-old Latter-day Saint teen who wowed both judges and audiences alike with her emotional performances finished ninth in the competition. Although she did not win the overall competition, her resilience, tenacity, and most of all her enduring faith, touched the hearts of people all over the world.
Evie received massive media coverage during the competition as she gave one emotional performance after another, singing her heart out as an expression of her love for her father, Amos Abplanalp, who passed away from stage four colon cancer before the final show. Even after her father’s passing, she returned to the show to sing a loving tribute to her father in the finals with her stirring cover of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.” However, even with all the media coverage, some of the most inspiring aspects of this story – some of the more spiritual aspects of Evie’s performance and her journey – remained untold.
Evie’s father sang the song “What a Wonderful World” all the time, and so it was befitting that she would choose the song as her final performance. About Evie’s performance, her mother, Hillary Abplanalp, wrote on her family blog, “She said in an interview that he [her father] was out there on that stage with her and I believe he was.”
After her father’s death, Evie posted a photo on Facebook of her and her family at the gravesite and shared her testimony that families are forever. She and her sister, Kirra, sang a medley written by their mother, testifying of that fact at the funeral. Evie, overcome with emotion at the start, received the support and courage that she needed from her younger sister’s voice that helped her get through the song.
Evie demonstrated her faith and standards off-camera as well. Her mother wrote, “The whole staff here at America’s Got Talent is now well versed in all things Evie Clair. They know she has special dress standards and that she needs Sunday mornings off for church.” According to LDS Living, “the woman over wardrobe told Hillary she often buys two skirts for Evie, to make sure there is extra fabric in case they need to make adjustments.” Even with her hectic schedule, her father’s funeral, and everything else, Evie made the time to attend Church and focus on the gospel. The Sunday before her final performance she was asked to give an impromptu talk in a Ward in Hollywood and testified of the truth of eternal families.
Evie’s mother also shared a touching story about the day of the funeral:
Evelyn has had a hard day. Halfway through two different interviews she broke down and ran away. She would do fine until they would ask specific questions about her dad and then she would go silent. . .. I was proud of her for pulling herself together in both instances to continue the interviews saying her dad didn’t teach her to be a quitter.
According to Evie’s mother, Evie did not anticipate winning America’s Got Talent but she loved all the other contestants dearly and was happy for whoever took home the prize. Her decision to return and perform in the final show was made in part because of something that her father had taught her. Before her performance, she said, “My dad taught me after I started something to always finish it. That’s why I’m fighting to the end, just like he did.”