And, as it turned out, all four of the judges – Simon Cowell, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum – voted to send Evie through to the next stage. But it was the story she also told, as much as her singing, that touched them. “About a year ago my dad was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer,” she explained to the judges. “They gave him a five percent chance to live, and he’s still continued working and supporting our family.”
Evie’s father Amos had been a constant reliable presence in her life. He was a big part of many other people’s lives, too: Amos was a teacher for disabled pupils at a high school, for instance, as well as a wrestling coach, a counselor at the Florence prison and a bishop of his church. And along with Evie, he had four other children: Porter, Kirra, Ruth and Blakely.
In fact, Evie’s whole family watched with pride as she advanced through America’s Got Talent. Her next song was “I Try” by Macy Gray, and the skill with which she performed it saw her move on to the quarter-finals. Mel B even cried at the end of the performance. “You just sing with such heart and soul… It makes me think of my dad, he’s not here with me anymore,” she told Evie.