Evie Clair delivered an achingly beautiful rendition of What A Wonderful World on Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent following the recent death of her father.
She was among the top 10 finalists competing live at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood for the show’s $1 million prize.
Evie, 13, performed despite her father Amos Abplanalp dying earlier this month of colon cancer.
Emotional tribute: Evie Clair sang an emotional tribute to her late father as the 10 finalists performed during Tuesday’s episode of America’s Got Talent
She earned a standing ovation from judges Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel as well as the audience for her take on the Louis Armstrong classic.
Howie called her voice ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ while Mel described her vocals as ‘pure and raw’.
‘This was a perfect tribute to your dad,’ said Simon.
Dog lover Simon later marveled over canine trainer Sara, 22, and her ‘best friend’ Hero during the live finale.
Sara hit the stage with Hero to Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now – with some rescue pup talent as backup.
High praise: The teenager singer was praised by the judges for her rendition of What A Wonderful World
Recent loss: Evie’s father Amos Abplanalp died earlier this month of colon cancer
Showing support: The singer’s mothers and sisters were in the audience
Standing ovation: Howie Mandel, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Simon Cowell gave Evie a standing ovation
Perfect tribute: Simon told Evie that her performance was the ‘perfect tribute’ to her father
There were a few mistakes in the performance, but the panel loved it.
‘This was honestly incredible…I can’t even get my dogs to sit,’ gushed Simon, who has three Yorkshire Terriers named Freddie, Squiddly and Diddly.
‘Mine can’t even roll over, they do sit though,’ chimed in Heidi Klum, 44.
Dog act: Sara and Hero performed in the finals together
In sync: The dog trainer and her canine companion were in sync during their routine
Loved it: Simon has been championing Sara and Hero all season
Mel noted that it ‘wasn’t perfect but called it ‘fast and furious’ and ‘exciting’.
Simon initially laid his money on ventriloquist Darci Lynne to win, but later changed his mind as he watched deaf singer Mandy Harvey and Ukrainian dance act Light Balance.
‘It’s like the Super Bowl, just as you think someone’s won it, it all changes in the last ten minutes,’ he mused.
Family fun: Darci Lynne won over the judges and audience again with her cute ventriloquist act
Rainbow hair: Mel was sporting multi-colored hair for the live two-hour show
The show opened with 10-year-old vocal powerhouse Angelica Hale, who sang Symphony by British electronic group Clean Bandit.
‘You’re only four feet tall, but you are a giant,’ raved Heidi.
‘You took the stage and you controlled every note…absolutely amazing,’ said Mel, who was sporting a glittery, rainbow hairdo.
Powerful voice: Angelica Hale sang Symphony by British electronic group Clean Bandit
Nailed it: The 10-year-old singer nailed her rendition of the song
Personal favorite: Heidi earlier named Angelica as her ‘personal favorite’
Simon said hw was ‘gobsmacked’.
Next up was 21-year-old California singer Chase Goehring, with another original song.
‘I bloody loved it,’ announced Simon, 57.
Original song: Chase Goehring performed another original song
‘I love what you stand for, you’re not a karaoke singer,’ he added, while Howie Mandel called him ‘authentic’.
Acrobatic group Diavalo, based out of Los Angeles, executed another dangerous, nail biting choreography.
‘Tonight you just topped yourself, beyond,’ said Mel, calling them a ‘powerful force’.
Danger zone: Diavolo executed another dangerous routine
Flying high: Members of Diavolo leaped from a rocking platform
Simon compared their intricate routines to ‘looking inside a watch’.
Preacher Lawson, the only comedian left in the competition, cracked some jokes about meeting a vagrant.
‘You are everything that inspires me about comedy,’ praised Howie, who compared the 26-year-old to Richard Pryor, Charlie Chaplin and Eddie Murphy.
Comedy routine: Preacher Lawson was the only comedian left in the competition
Big fan: Howie told Preacher that he was inspiring and could win the whole thing
‘I think you should win this,’ added the 61-year-old judge.
‘Your energy is on fire…and you’re really good to look at…I could watch you do comedy all night long,’ flirted Mel, 42.
Heidi said she didn’t like the references to drug abuse in his routine.
Drug references: Heidi told Preacher that she didn’t like his references to drugs in his routine
Lady in red: The German-born beauty sizzled in a little red dress
Rainbow look: Mel stood out with her rainbow hair
Tight fit: The former Spice Girls star wore a tight white lacy outfit
Sheer delight: Mel’s white bodysuit was a sheer delight
Plane crash survivor Kechi Okwuchi sang Conqueror by Estelle.
‘Kechi I just love you, everything about you, that wasn’t a song that was an anthem,’ Simon told the 27-year-old fan favorite.
‘I’ve seen a lot of people come and go but you, I will never forget,’ agreed Heidi.
Strong voice: Kechi Okwuchi belted out Conqueror by Estelle
Never forget: Heidi told Kechi that she would never forget her
The host: Tyra Banks looked fierce in an all-black ensemble
Twelve-year-old ventriloquist Darci Lynne, from Oklahoma, did a routine with two neon puppets described as a ‘fainting mouse and a bunny who thinks she’s a diva’.
The unlikely trio sang With A Little Help From My Friends by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
‘You are hands down incredible,’ raved Mel B, who’d given Darci her Golden Buzzer.
Singing talent: Darci and her puppet pals sang With A Little Help From My Friends
‘I think you’re gonna win,’ declared Simon.
Deaf singer Mandy Harvey, from Ohio, played ukulele for her soft track.
‘I can’t take much more of this, my emotions, it’s like being in a washing machine ‘ sighed Simon.
Powerful performance: Mandy Harvey played ukulele for her soft song
Deaf singer: Simon praised Mandy for her emotional rendition
‘It’s all about strength, it makes me feel so weak!’ Howie told the 29-year-old singer.
The last finalist to perform was fluorescent dance act Light Balance, who hail from the Ukraine.
‘This is our American dream,’ they said before their energetic routine to Jason Derulo’s Get Ugly.
Light show: Light Balance performed their fluorescent dance routine
Eye popping: The light show performers from Ukraine looked ready for Las Vegas
Simon spoke directly to Las Vegas, asking the talent scouts to book Light Balance immediately.
‘Simon’s right you should be in Vegas already, and I’m buying tickets to see it again and again and again,’ agreed Heidi.
‘It was magic,’ yelled Howie.
Voting was opened to viewers during the show and the season 12 champion will be crowned Wednesday during a two-hour season finale.
Magical moment: Howie said that Light Balance delivered a magical routine