US viewers send Hong Kong songbird Celine Tam, 9, through to semi-finals of America’s Got Talent
Child singer advances to next round of contest despite criticism from judge and former Spice Girl singer Mel B
Pint-sized performer Celine Tam copped some criticism for her latest flower-themed performance, but the naysayers failed to derail her blossoming musical career.
The nine-year-old singer from Hong Kong was sent through to the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent on Wednesday night, US time, after winning the hearts of the American public with a powerful ballad performed in a sparkly, rose-garden-inspired set.
Celine clasped her hands over her face in excitement when she heard the news and said she thought her idol, singer Celine Dion, would be very proud of her.
“Thank you! The miracle has come to me now!” she said.
Watch: Live show results
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.
— America's Got Talent (@AGT) August 24, 2017
The night before, 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.”
Watch: Celine Tam sings When You Believe
Luckily the American public thought differently, instead voting to send the tiny singer 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 take home US$1 million, will be announced in September.
Despite the fierce competition, there does not appear to be any bad blood between Celine and Angelica, who have complimented each other on their social media platforms.
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 plaudits 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.