Victory Brinker used to sing in front of her parents and many siblings and pretend that she was on the popular TV show, “America’s Got Talent.”
“There would be a good buzzer and a bad buzzer, and I would cut up paper and paint it for the golden buzzer,” she said. “When I was younger I said I was going to be on that show.”
Tonight, the 9-year-old girl from Unity Township is achieving that dream when she appears on “America’s Got Talent” that airs from 8 to 10 p.m. on NBC (WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh). The Brinker family will be watching on the big screen in the banquet room of Dino’s Sports Lounge in Unity Township, and they’re inviting the public to come and watch the show with them.
They already know the outcome of the auditions that were filmed in April, but they aren’t permitted to talk about it. Victory can’t even reveal what she’s going to be singing. But considering that her stunning talent has earned her the reputation of “the little girl who sings opera,” there’s a good chance that’s what she’s going to sing.
Victory is one of 11 children (nine are adopted) of Eric Brinker, pastor of Impact Life Church in Acme, and Christine Brinker, a naturopathic doctor with a practice in Unity Township. She has been singing since she was 2 years old.
“She was memorizing entire CDs and could sing them word for word, on pitch and understandable,” Christine Brinker said. “She started singing for church when she was 4 years old. It was just cute and it probably didn’t have an impact until she started focusing on opera when she was six.”
She asked her mother to find a YouTube video of someone “who could sing the highest note.” Mesmerized by an operatic soprano that she saw, she told her mother, “Teach me a song. I want to sing like that. I want to be an opera singer.”
Although Brinker doesn’t have a formal education in music, she has sung and played several instruments in choirs and worship teams since she was young, so she taught her daughter how to sing “Ave Maria” in Latin. Then she learned more songs in a total of seven languages including Italian, German and French.
“I really liked the challenge of hitting the high notes and the different languages,” Victory said.
When she decided that she wanted to focus on opera, Brinker arranged for her to study with Desiree Soteres, an opera teacher in Pittsburgh.
Victory won her first talent show singing “Ave Maria.” She has sung at local and regional festivals and has opened sports events by singing the national anthem, including for the Pittsburgh Pirates and a 2019 NBA playoff game.
She was a featured extra in the 2018 movie “The Boy Hero” and had the leading role in the Christian movie “Helping Izzy’’ in 2019. She also sings in German in the DreamWorks Troll World Tour music video. Last year, she sang on the TV show “Little Big Shots.”
Victory is on Facebook and YouTube. Her presence also on Instagram was what got her the attention at “America’s Got Talent,” a popular TV talent competition that premiered in the United States in 2006. It’s part of the Global Got Talent franchise founded by Simon Cowell, who is one of the judges.
“They contacted us and we sent them some videos and then they invited her to the live audition,” Brinker said. “We haven’t really been talking about it until now, and it’s been a tough couple of months keeping it under wraps.”
But tonight, America will see who’s got the talent when Victory sings, and if her performance receives the Golden Buzzer approval that will take her another step in competition.
Victory already knows her ultimate goal regardless of that outcome.
“When I grow up, I want to sing all over the world,” she said. “I want to make people happy, and that makes me happy.”