In a recent appearance on TODAY, Jackie Evancho announced that she would perform the national anthem during Donald Trump's inauguration. The 16-year-old former America's Got Talent competitor declared, "It's gonna be awesome." This spawned a second collective thought: Is Jackie Evancho a Trump supporter? (The first collective thought was: "Wait, who is Evancho?") While she may not have been the president-elect's first choice (you know, since she's not Elton John), she's still a talented and deserving one. And though she also might not be a household name, Evancho has been singing and making music since the age of 10, when she first appeared on America's Got Talent.
According to reports, Trump has had a challenging time locking down performers for his inauguration, so it's possible that Evancho will be the only one. But is this because Evancho is a diehard, "Make America Great Again" cap-wearing fan of Trump? Or is it simply because singing at the president-elect's ceremony is a smart career move for an up-and-coming singer? (She'll succeed Aretha Franklin and Beyoncé, the previous two inauguration national anthem singers.)
When you consider Evancho's age (she can't even legally vote yet), family, and history of performing at ceremonies during the Obama administration, the answer becomes more muddled — or maybe, the reason we're asking does. Evancho's stance either consists of optimistic bipartisanism or no stance at all. "I felt really honored to get a chance to perform for the president again," she said on TODAY. As a budding teenage songstress, you can't blame her for the neutrality. (Though, some might argue performing for Trump doesn't make you neutral.)
Evancho has reportedly undergone harsh criticism for the decision. Making the hate more complex is Evancho's family life. Specifically, her 18-year-old transgender sister. Last month, she told People, “My family is kind of a big target. I have a transgender sister and so a lot of hate goes towards us." Considering Trump's stance toward the LGBTQ community, not to mention vice president-elect Mike Pence's, Evancho's willingness to perform for Trump seemingly clashes with her sister's quest for equality and acceptance. (Recently Evancho's sister penned a piece about coming out for Teen Vogue.)
Evancho appears to be focused on the performance, and not necessarily who the performance is for — which, you could say, is the marker of a true performer. She also told People, "I feel like it’s going to be a big audience, and I love big audiences." In recalling her Christmas tree lighting performance in 2010, she noted, "I remember that I got a lot of applause and that everyone was really impressed, so I’m hoping the same thing happens."
Nowhere has she stated something resembling the words: "I support all of Donald Trump's policies." Trump, however, seems to have an opinion on Evancho and her position in what he deems the "movement." He claimed on Twitter, "Jackie Evancho's album sales have skyrocketed after announcing her Inauguration performance. Some people just don't understand the 'Movement'"
Jackie Evancho's album sales have skyrocketed after announcing her Inauguration performance.Some people just don't understand the "Movement"— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017
In a climate where almost everything can be categorized as political, consider this possibility: Evancho's performance for Trump might not actually be that political. At least, not from her standpoint. For left-leaning America, it's a different story.