Evie Clair topped off another remarkable night of America's Got Talent auditions for June 20. In many ways, the 13-year-old singer-songwriter from small-town Arizona had tremendously tough acts to follow. The evening was already rich in musical performance.

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Celine Tam had already charmed the full panel of Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum, and Howie Mandel, not just by hitting all the high notes of “My Heart Will Go On,” but by keeping her beaming smile. There were balancing acts beyond belief, two men wearing pans and nothing else, and gifted performers of song and guitar. There was even a magician who meddled with the audience’s cell phones with his mind. Evie Clair had something even more different and powerful-- the immense bond between a daughter and her dad. She couldn't stop the tears when she shared the journey of the past year, and the story made the song from Evie Clair means so much.

Teen singer Evie Clair tops of "America's Got Talent" with a heartfelt tribute to her dad on a night top-heavy with talent-.Screencap AGT/YouTube
Teen singer Evie Clair tops of "America's Got Talent" with a heartfelt tribute to her dad on a night top-heavy with talent-.Screencap AGT/YouTube

A father’s delight

Evie Clair had her profile perfectly placed among some very special segments in tribute to fathers, naturally placed to honor Father's Day this prior weekend. There were giggles and hugs, shaving play with young sons, and baby daughters delightfully saying her “Daddy” in back of the “America's Got Talent” stage. Evie Clair asked her fellow contestant, Darcy Callus, who dedicated his beautiful rendition of “God Only Knows” to his dad, about their bond.

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That father had flown in from Australia that very day to be in the audience. Evie Clair and her father had shared a much darker journey through the past year. Breaking down in tears as she began to tell about “My family...,” the petite teen was tenderly given all the time she needed to compose herself by Simon Cowell. She described their life in Florence, Arizona, where the two prisons are the center of life.

Evie said that her dad worked at one of the prisons, getting a chuckle.

The lighthearted mood soon shifted as she detailed his diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer last year, with only a 5% chance of survival. Beyond that, his example of courage through continuing work to support his family was living inspiration for his daughter. She explained that her song choice was Christina Perri’s “Arms,’ because that was the song she would sing to him to lift him through the worst days, “just to give him comfort.” Tyra Banks was moved to bring out a refreshing bottle of water to Clarie, insisting, “We'll stay here all day and drink water and if you need to.” This was more than Evie’s dream on the line.

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Held in America's arms

After some sips, Simon Cowell urged Evie Clair to “give the best vocal performance you've ever had.” Pouring soul and memory into the verses, with a lovely, completely unaffected and gentle yodel to her vibrato, Evie sang about the arms there for her. Her father had a few of his own tears watching from side stage, but mostly, overflowing pride.

The singer never stumbled once through the soaring notes, even with all her emotion.

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Someone else was watching, too, as Christina Perri noted in big letters on Twitter: “THIS IS BEAUTIFUL.” “Everyone here at AGT and all of America wants to wrap our arms around you,” Howie Mandel told Evie after her last note, adding “You are home.” Mel B gushed that Evie is “very, very, very talented.” Heidi Klum remarked how she could feel every note. Simon imagined that the singer's dad must feel that “I got one heck of a talented kid” and elaborating further that “your one of the ones we're going to remember.” This night of “America's Got Talent” is one that Evie Clair, and her father, will never forget.

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