Children can often surprise us. Sometimes it’s hard to believe what they are capable of, even if we see it — or hear it — for ourselves.
Nine-year-old Victory Brinker made a believer out of everyone with her recent performance on “America’s Got Talent” (AGT).
For her Unity Township family — all 13 of them — it wasn’t easy, but they were able to keep a really big secret for nearly three months.
The Brinkers knew back in April that Victory — their daughter and sister — was the unprecedented winner of the unanimous Golden Buzzer from the four judges on AGT. She made history on that show.
But now the secret is out: Her voice is truly magical, and she blew everyone away with her incredible talent.
“It’s really hard for a nine-year-old with a big mouth to keep a secret that long,” the youngster joked.
But her mother Christine had a different take. “It was kind of easy,” she said. “I liked having that little secret between us. I just wanted everyone to be really excited to see it happen and to experience it firsthand. So it wasn’t hard to keep the secret.”
She and Victory recently returned from rehearsals in Los Angeles and will be going back for the live rounds that begin on Aug. 10. The recorded show that aired on July 6 was an audition in front of the judges to determine who will go on to the live shows. There will be 12 performers in each round, and instead of a panel of judges, viewers cast their votes by calling or texting. The winner from each round will be announced the next day.
That will be followed by semifinals, two rounds and the finale that’s expected to take place in mid-September.
The winner will be awarded $1 million.
If she wins, Victory joked at the audition, she would buy a glittery rainbow shirt for AGT founder and judge Simon Cowell, who “needs some color.”
Victory is the daughter of Eric and Christine Brinker, who have two biological children and nine adopted ones. Eric is the pastor of Impact Life Church in Acme, and his wife is a naturopathic doctor with a practice in Unity Township.
Victory started singing when she was two, and was singing in church when she was four.
At six, she discovered opera and wanted to learn how to hit those high notes. Her mother, who has an informal background in music, taught her what she could. Then the girl began studying under opera instructor Desiree Soteres of Pittsburgh, who was let in the on the family’s secret about AGT.
Victory has performed at festivals, concerts, talent shows, sports events, and has been in videos and a short movie. She sings in six or seven languages and sang in German in a music video for DreamWorks Troll World Tour.
An Instagram video caught the attention of AGT staff, who invited her to audition.
It was a long day at the studio.
“Victory didn’t get to sing until well after 9 p.m.,” Christine said. “Then she did digital promos and exit scene. It was pretty late when we got back to the hotel and were able to celebrate with everyone over the phone. And we also had ice cream.”
When she was younger, Victory would play AGT at home with her parents as judges and her siblings as the audience. She cut gold paper into pieces for the confetti shower of the Golden Buzzer that indicates a judge’s strong approval. She never expected that in real life, she would actually end up on AGT and that all four judges would give her the Golden Buzzer recognition.
“I didn’t expect this to happen,” she said. “My first thoughts were, ‘Did they really do that?’ I was overwhelmed, so thankful, so grateful, and I cried.”
And then for 73 days, she kept the secret, and would not even tell people who asked what song she was going to sing.
Her friends congratulated her after the audition aired and people recognize her when the family is out shopping or eating.
“The community has been absolutely wonderful with sending us messages,” Christine said. “It’s overwhelming to see the encouragement and love that we got from this community.”
Through it all, she added, “Victory is still the same. She’s so unaffected by all this. She’s happy and thankful and very unaffected by the attention.”
When asked if she would like to sing with famous opera stars, for instance Andrea Bocelli, Victory laughed and said, “Yes, and maybe his son.”