The stakes are sky high, “America’s Got Talent” host Terry Crews said Tuesday night at the two-hour semifinals competition for 11 contestants.
“You never know when life is going off in a new direction,” he added.
For nine-year-old Victory Brinker, the daughter of Eric and Christine Brinker of Unity Township, that direction is looking up.
“I felt like I could reach the stars,” she said in the taped introduction before she sang for the third time on NBC’s popular talent show. “Now in the semifinals, I’m going to do the best I can out there. It’s unbelievable. If this is a dream, I’m not going to pinch myself.”
Then on stage with a backdrop of purple wisteria and gently falling glitter, she sang “Nessun Dorma,” an often-performed aria from the first act of Giacoma Puccini’s opera “Turandot.” Translated, the title means “Let No One Sleep.”
Judge and AGT creator Simon Cowell stood when her performance ended. “Of course I’m on my feet,” he said, and compared the song to climbing a mountain.
Judge Heidi Klum urged Victory to “drop the mic.” The gesture of dropping the microphone signifies a particularly impressive performance.
“I’ll pay for it,” she said. “Just drop it.”
Everyone cheered when Victory did.
“You gave me goosebumps,” judge Sofia Vergara said. Judge Howie Mandell called her performance “powerful.”
“You are fearless,” Crews said. “You are talented. Are you having fun? Would you have fun in the finals?”
Victory assured him that she would.
Viewers were able to vote overnight until 7 a.m. today. The five winners will be announced on AGT’s one-hour show at 8 p.m. today on WPXI-TV.
Those winners will go on to the finals on Sept. 14 when they will compete with the five winners from last week’s semifinals that featured different performers.
The final winner will receive $1 million and a headline show in Las Vegas.
If Victory is in the running for the finals, she’ll remain in California to prepare for the show. That will be a busy week of rehearsing, relaxing, studying with the studio teachers in accordance with California education requirements, and staying in touch with her family.
Victory is one of 11 children in the Brinker family, and is one of the nine who were adopted. Her father is pastor of Impact Life Church in Acme and her mother is a doctor of naturopathy with a practice in Unity Township. She has been with Victory in California for all the rehearsals and AGT performances.
Victory made AGT history when at her audition performance, all four judges and the host awarded her with the Golden Buzzer.
“I didn’t know that someone your age could sing like that,” Vergara told her. “I thought it would take years and years of training.”
According to Christine Brinker, Victory has been singing since she was two years old and started singing in church when she was four. When she asked her mother to show her a video of someone singing the highest notes, she declared that she, too, was going to sing opera.
Victory won a talent show in February 2018 for her performance of “Ave Maria” and two months later performed in Carnegie Hall in New York City. In 2019, she sang the national anthem for several sports events, including the Pittsburgh Pirates’ home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.
She also acted in a short film called “Boy Hero” that benefited the children at St. Jude Hospital, played the title role in the short movie “Helping Izzy, ” and sang in German in a Disney video. Victory can sing in six or seven languages.
Her goal is to become an opera singer and tour the world “to make people happy.”