• Celine Tam is a 9-year-old singer who competed in Season 12 of “America’s Got Talent” and reached the semi-finals.
• She has won numerous singing championships and competed in “China’s Got Talent” and “Britain’s Got Talent”.
• Celine Tam has become an author of a comic book, a “Room to Read” ambassador and advocates against animal cruelty and pollution.
• She enjoys motivating her fans on social media and has hobbies such as reading, walking in nature and playing badminton.
• Celine has plans to continue her music career after her education is finished.
Very few people who saw Celine Tam appear in Season 12 of “America’s Got Talent” (“AGT”) were immune to her charm and incredible voice. She impressed the judges, theater audience, and viewers at home with her rendition of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion at the very young age of 9. When judges heard she was named after the singing icon, and had a sister named Dion Tam, her audition made the news for another reason besides her vocal abilities and sweet personality. That turned Celine Tam into a topic of interest in online publications and on social media, and attracted a large fan base support during the show.
Although she didn’t reach the finals, Celine Tam is a successful singer and even became an author of a comic book. Let us tell you what’s happened to her since her 2017 rise to fame.
i absolutely love these wireless noise cancelling earbuds from @BOSE!! as soon as i put em on i swear i could barely…
Posted by Celine Tam 譚芷昀 on Wednesday, January 25, 2023
- 1 How was Celine’s talent discovered?
- 2 Competition aftermath and Celine Dion’s show invite
- 3 Reaching the finals of “World’s Got Talent”
- 4 Advocating against animal cruelty and Earth pollution
- 5 Becoming a “Room to Read” ambassador and activism
- 6 What does the future hold for Celine Tam?
How was Celine’s talent discovered?
To get to her current state, we must go over Celine’s journey before she appeared on “AGT.” Celine Tam Tsz-kwan is a singer born on 22 November 2007 in Hong Kong, China. She started singing lessons at the age of three with her father, singing teacher Steve Tam Shun-sang, who calls himself Dr Steve. He discovered her singing prowess during a car ride when she belted “My Heart Will Go On”, and could only muster a ‘Wow!’, and after consulting his wife, he decided to start a singing school and nurture her talent.
Competing before “AGT”
She started performing at a young age, appearing on American and Chinese TV and at events across the globe. Many consider her big break came during her “Let’s Sing Kids” contest appearance at the age of five. Her dad later revealed that she sang at the National Day reception celebration in Hong Kong in 2015 – to sing three songs, she rehearsed for over 30 hours. The same year, she signed a contract with entertainment recording label GME China.
In a candidate interview in 2017, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), which produces “America’s Got Talent”, pointed out that she ‘won eight singing championships in a year a few years ago’. At that time, online publications reminded the audience that Celine got to the final audition round of “China’s Got Talent” in 2014 and competed in “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2016. Although she passed the audition stage in the latter show, she didn’t make it to the live shows, hence, neither appearance was televised.
Moreover, some viewers at home recognized her as the girl who joined Jeffrey Li for a 2015 duet of the “You Raise Me Up” Josh Groban song, on the TV show named “Little Big Shots.” Jeffrey would go on to join “America’s Got Talent” in Season 13 two years later, pass the audition stage, but was eliminated in Judge Cuts. Her achievements earned her nicknames such as “Celine Dion of Hong Kong” and “Little Giant Lung”, the latter primarily in China and Hong Kong.
2017 Audition for “AGT”
Celine Tam made her debut during episode 1204 aired on 20 June 2017, and sang Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”. Judges were unsurprised by the song choice after hearing about the origin of her and her sister’s names, and she even stated that her dream is ‘to be the next Celine Dion.’ She received ‘yes’ from all four judges, and proceeded to the next round.
Around the time the audition aired, her dad released an album, but instead of celebrating his support for his daughter, things turned sour in China, spoiling her newly earned good reputation – he became the target of allegations that he was milking her TV appearances for his financial benefit. Additionally, a local celebrity accused him of stealing their students, and charging them five times the usual price, plus his doctorate was questioned.
He was apologetic and stated, ‘I will step up my efforts to learn and improve. Everyone has his own past. I have my shortcomings.’ He also proved that he had a PhD in “Business Administration” from Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology in the Philippines.
Getting to the Semifinals of AGT and her elimination
During the next competition in episode 1209, called Judge Cuts because judges had to eliminate a lot of candidates, Celine Tam was even more successful. After singing “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”, a guest judge in that episode, Laverne Cox, pressed the Golden Buzzer, sending Celine straight to the quarter-finals.
She impressed the judges during Week 2 of the quarter-finals by belting out “When You Believe” by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. After Heidi Klum’s standing ovation and enough audience votes, she proceeded to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, although her singing of “How Far I’ll Go” from the movie “Moana” was praised, and Heidi gave her another standing ovation, the audience’s votes were insufficient to save her, and Celine Tam was eliminated from the competition – the overwhelming audience impression was that she merely had a poor song choice that required a more mature voice.
Competition aftermath and Celine Dion’s show invite
Even if deep inside she was upset by her elimination, Celine Tam wasn’t discouraged from pursuing her goals in life. She refocused on school, and started spending more time doing homework than singing publicly. Credible Facebook posts noted that she attended Beacon Hill School, a member of the English Schools Foundation, while her official website stated Celine went to Peak School in Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island, confusing some fans at the time.
She also wanted to spend more time with family, but agreed to cut the ribbon and model clothes at the launch event for an Italian brand “MONNALISA”. Additionally, rumors during that period were that children could be banned from competing in “AGT.” Celine disagreed with that change and pointed out that people of all ages should be able to participate if they have a talent to display. She added that she wouldn’t force her younger sister Dion to participate, but would help her with singing if she chooses that path.
Another noteworthy event happened on 14 September 2017, when Celine tweeted, ‘No matter #howfarillgo #myheartwillgoon! BIG THX n HUGto [sic] my family! I hope someday I can sing with Celine Dion but not just as heresay:)” Celine Dion retweeted her message six days later, congratulating her on her performance, saying she ‘did an amazing job’, and inviting Celine Tam and her family to her Las Vegas show if they could make it. Two months later, “Prestige”, a well-known Hong Kong magazine, listed her as one of the “40 under 40” individuals.
Reaching the finals of “World’s Got Talent”
Although mentioning during her run on “AGT” that she writes song lyrics and composes, that fact didn’t hold much weight until 2019. After a nearly two-year break, Celine decided to compete again, joining the global singing contest, “World’s Got Talent” held in China, and broadcast on Hunan Television.
She blew away the judges and the audience with an original song entitled “Who I Am” – they were so fascinated that a judge pressed the Golden Buzzer. That made Celine a member of an elite group of competitors who earned a Golden Buzzer in two iterations of the “Got Talent” media franchise. Her feat was even more impressive since one competition was a worldwide All-Star version. The judge’s decision sent her to the Top 8, and although she didn’t make the Top 2, Celine Tam became the youngest finalist of “World’s Got Talent.”
Dion shared her sweets to me. Few hours later, 26th April GMT 12:10 (China standard time 20:10) at Hunan TV China, I will sing my first original song “Who I Am” to all of you at World’s Got Talent. See ya~#WhoIAm #WorldsGotTalent #hunantvchina #湖南卫视 #巅峰之夜 pic.twitter.com/0oFQ5wjOJE
— Celine Tam (@celinetam) April 26, 2019
Advocating against animal cruelty and Earth pollution
In 2020, Celine began advocating for a stop to animal cruelty on her YouTube channel, “Celine Tam Official”, starting with boycotting animal products. She talked about the production of foods and cosmetic products, and the negative consequences on animals. It became apparent that she was knowledgeable about the topic, and passionate about activism.
She also posted a video entitled “Letter to Earth”, in which she showed appreciation that the Earth is ‘still living’ despite ‘all we [humans] have done to you’. She reiterated her desire to stop animal exploitation and the extinction of endangered species. Celine also wanted to bring attention to issues such as water pollution, and the production of greenhouse gases.
Becoming a “Room to Read” ambassador and activism
Another notable announcement from Celine Tam came in 2020. She became an ambassador of “Room to Read”, a non-profit global charity that aids girls’ education and literacy. She committed to promoting their efforts and participating in fundraisers, striving to create gender equality by establishing schools and libraries in countries that lack them. Celine also partnered with organizations such as WiperLooper to create plushies, and appeared in charity concerts benefiting organizations such as BC Children’s Hospital in Canada.
When Celine was almost 14, on 31 October 2021, Celine Tam announced that she’d become an author by releasing a comic book named “Harper”, in partnership with illustrator Peter Ng. She wanted to bring awareness to the adverse effects of bullying on children, and the high degree of depression and self-harm thoughts among bullied individuals. Her fans weren’t surprised, since she introduced the Harper comic character as early as November 2020. Celine also committed to donating all proceeds (minus operating costs) from the book to a “CODA Hong Kong” organization that helps kids with deaf parents live richer lives.
Producing diverse YouTube content
Besides serious content, since 2017 Celine Tam has uploaded cover songs, medleys, and videos of her performances, mainly in China. She also shared videos of fan meetings, funny moments with her younger sister Dion, and her thoughts in video journals. In 2021, Celine expanded her content to include cooking guides for avocado and tomato salad, mushroom soup, and carbonara. On top of food-related videos, she’s posted beauty and self-development instructions, such as those on washing hair correctly, and building self-confidence.
Celine Tam enjoys motivating her fans on social media. For instance, she revealed her struggles with stopping her naturally overthinking mind in May 2022, but is committed to eradicating that bad habit, and wants to help people who are in the same boat. Moreover, she posts affirmative quotes to inspire her fan base to learn from their mistakes, remember to smile, remain true to themselves, and never give up on their dreams.
Celine is a big fan of reading, and gives book recommendations to her social media followers.
She enjoys spending time in nature, whether hiking, biking, horse-riding, or walking through forests.
At home, Celine draws, and enjoys watching Korean dramas while in bed.
Interestingly, she seems elastic and easily does a handstand, suggesting she has experience with gymnastics. Celine also played badminton in mid-2020 and tried kayaking in late 2022 with her uncle, and fell in love with the experience. Finally, she enjoys summer activities such as going to the beach but also likes spring.
Her loyal fan base knows that Celine and her sister are massive Disneyland fans, and ride their rollercoasters during each visit. Whenever she goes, Celine remembers the disappointment of not attending an Ed Sheeran concert at Disneyland in mid-2010. She was ready, but on the night of the concert, a thunderstorm forced organizers to cancel the event.
Food, animals, and activities
We mentioned that she enjoys cooking but didn’t get into her favorite foods. Celine likes drinking tea and eating scones and cheese. Her weaknesses are sugary treats and desserts, and she loves strawberry vanilla ice cream. As for drinks, she finds joy in drinking a latte, calling it ‘me time,’ and appreciates creative latte art. Also, when she had to make a birthday wish in November 2022, she wished to end world hunger.
Celine is a big cat lover, stating she’s ‘in love with kitties.’ Although the doesn’t have one as of early 2023, she wishes that she could get a cat someday. She also expressed her love for dogs, especially those of her friends and family members.
What does the future hold for Celine Tam?
Although she hasn’t announced any plans, and focuses on her education in 2023, Celine said that ‘music is the universal language’ and will always be a part of her life. She shared that singing makes her happy and relaxes her, so she sings before tests, assessments, competitions, and other stressful activities. Music also helped her cure her sleeping problems. After she started listening to music before bed, ‘concerning dreams’ that ‘woke her up multiple times’ disappeared.
If we account for her musical talent, love for music, and previous off- and on-screen successes, we can safely assume she’ll resume her music career after her education finishes.