US viewers send Hong Kong’s sweetheart Celine Tam, 9, through to semi-finals of America’s Got Talent for her impressive rendition of ‘When You Believe’.
Pint-sized Celine won the hearts of the American public with a powerful ballad performed in a rose-garden-inspired set.
She clasped her hands over her face in excitement when she heard the news on Wednesday and said she thought her idol, singer Celine Dion, would be very proud of her.
“Thank you! The miracle has come to me now!” Celine said.
Fans took to social media to congratulate her on her success, with some telling Celine they could not wait to see what she would perform at the semi-finals next month.
“Not surprised. She should be given a recording contract,” one supporter wrote.
“This angel needed no miracle – she is beautiful with a beautiful voice,” another tweeted.
On Tuesday, Celine hit a snag during her meteoric rise when judge and former Spice Girl singer Mel B questioned her decision to perform ‘When You Believe’, a song recorded by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey for the animated movie The Prince of Egypt.
“You’re very brave to be up there on that stage,” Mel B told Celine. “But tonight I think the song was just too big for you. I think you’re amazing, but I think you should have chosen a different song.”
However, Heidi Klum called Celine the cutest little thing. She said that she could still hear the innocence in Celine.
Howie Mandel said that Celine is not totally polished. He predicted that America would find Celine adorable.
Simon Cowell told Mel to remember how young Celine is. He was impressed how she controlled the song in the second half, saying she did great.
Fortunately the American public were of the same mind as Cowell, voting to send her through to the top 21.
Her Hong Kong-based fans were not able to vote, as voting was only open to US viewers.
But Celine made a concerted effort to convince her US-based fans, even making multiple Facebook Live videos to remind them to vote.
“I really, really, really, really want to go to the semi-finals!” she said in a video.
The semi-finals, which air next month, will see Celine face off against other child performers, including 12-year-old ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer and 10-year-old singer Angelica Hale, who were both sent through to the semi-finals last week.
The series winner, who will walk away with US$1 million, will be announced in September.
Celine has now sung on the America’s Got Talent stage three times, most memorably when she performed her namesake Celine Dion’s hit ‘My Heart Will Go On’ during the show’s auditions, a rendition which has now been viewed over 30 million times on YouTube.
Since then, she has impressed music lovers around the world, including Canadian songstress Dion herself, who tweeted that Celine was “adorable!”
She also won praises from Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox for her rendition of Michael Bolton’s 1983 ballad ‘How Am I Supposed To Live Without You’ earlier this month.
Celine began singing at age three and was coached by her father, singing teacher Steve Tam Shun-sang, who calls himself “Dr Steve”.
In 2015, Celine also sang on the British version of the talent show, and at Hong Kong’s National Day reception in front of guests, including then-chief executive Leung Chun-ying.
Earlier report: Aug 3, Little ‘Celine Dion’ Stuns Again