Wearing a beautiful white gown, the 14-year-old singer from Arizona poured her heart out with a cover of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”
“The happiest memories are my family gathered around the piano singing together,” Clair said before taking the stage. “Music brought love and brought us closer together, even through the hardest times. My dad was one of the bravest people I knew, he always taught us to follow our dreams.”
Adding, “My dad taught me after I started something to always finish it, that’s why I’m fighting to the end just like he did.”
During Clair’s chilling performance, there was complete silence in the room followed by a roaring standing ovation.
Earlier this month, Clair’s father Amos Abplanalp, whom she has dedicated all her performances to while competing on the NBC show, died after a battle with stage 4 cancer. Clair’s mother described how their family decided to turn off Abplanalp’s life-sustaining machines in a heart-wrenching blog on the family’s website.
“Our hearts and our souls go out to you Evie, your father passed this week,” judge Howie Mandel said in absolute praise.
Mel B also had nothing but positive remarks, telling Clair: “Your dad must be so, so proud of you, well done.”
“You’re one brave little young lady, one amazing singer, we love having you here,” Heidi Klum echoed.
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And finally Simon Cowell concluded the judging panel’s comments.
“I’m not going to judge you. I’m going to tell you how I respect you, how much strength you have. That was a perfect tribute to your dad,” Cowell said. “Your voice was beautiful, the song was beautiful, very proud of you Evie for what you’ve done.”
The season 12 winner of America’s Got Talent will be named on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.