In 2017 the world stood in awe during the 12th season of “America’s Got Talent,” when the nine-year old singer from Hong Kong received a golden buzzer in the Judge Cuts, performing a feminine cover of Michael Bolton’s famous song entitled “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You.”
Her performance was met with a standing ovation from the entire audience, in which her family was very vocal in their support. Judge Heidi Klum instantly said ‘Celine, the crowd is going crazy for you!’ The guest judge at the time was Laverne Cox, who was asked her opinion by Heidi, and said ‘I just wanna eat you up, and, like, take you home. You were so adorable and so cute, and your voice is amazing. You are so talented!’ She proceeded with remarks such as ‘Unbelievable.’ and ‘So adorable.’ into a spree of compliments.
Celine’s journey ahead
Cox eventually said ‘I might just have to…’ and put both her hands together to slap the golden buzzer. The hall lit up with golden colors as yellow confetti dropped from the ceiling, catching the child star by complete surprise. There was an emotional response all across the audience, including among the other participants who were watching her on a screen. Celine’s parents ecstatically leapt up from their seats and began screaming, while Laverne herself got out of the chair and went over to the stage, hugging Tam with a big smile.
This achievement propelled her straight into the quarterfinals of the competition, in the second week of which she sang the legendary “When You Believe” by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Since she reached one of the most climactic parts of the show, her performance was highly decorated, with the stage looking like the garden of an ancient castle, in which Celine stood as the bud of a massive pink flower, wearing a dress and jacket that both had rosy floral patterns. Upon the rating of her spectacle, the judges found her more than fitting to be let into the next phase.
Obtaining the dream of many
Celine finally reached the epitome of success of most young singers worldwide – gracing the stage in the semi-finals of the planet’s biggest talent show. She was accompanied by a man playing a piano on the left, and a woman playing a cello on the right. Standing center-stage, she again appeared in a dress and jacket, this time with much brighter colors, which was reflected on the instrument players as well, both of whom wore white. Behind Celine there was a stationary holographic hot air balloon with purple lights flashing over its top.
Her song of choice was “How Far I’ll Go” by Auli’i Cravalho, from Disney’s “Moana,” evidently influenced by her childhood fascinations. Everyone then went quiet as the famous Simon Cowell opened up the commentary section, calling her performance ‘A massive, massive step up from what you’ve done before. The song was perfect for you. The way you control the song was fantastic.’ His comments were, of course, followed by massive approval from the audience.
It was then Mel B’s turn to give her opinion on Tam. She first asked the girl her age, and continued with ‘You’re nine years old and you conquer the stage like an already prepared, well-auditioned performer. Already. So your voice is outstanding, absolutely no doubt in that.’ Everything went great for a moment, until she said ‘For me, the song was way too musical theater.’ Simon Cowell immediately interrupted her, barking out a string of ‘No.’ Mel B proceeded by saying she didn’t think that it showcased Celine’s voice.
Explaining herself further, Mel B said ‘The range that you just presented was very locked in. I know you can go lower and higher, and take us on a magical journey. You didn’t give us that. I’m sorry to say that.’ Still utterly fascinated by Celine, regardless of the fellow judge’s opinion, Simon simply said ‘Boo.’ to Mel B’s entire row of comments. The crowd instantly booed along, and it truly seemed like the former Spice Girls singer was alone in her thoughts.
As the turn to speak shifted to the blond supermodel, in full accordance with Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum lit up the atmosphere again by saying ‘I think that you are a shining, bright star, and you sang crystal clear and pitch perfect, and on top of it, you are so cute. I loved it.’ The crowd went mad with supportive cheers and applause as soon as Heidi spoke, fully agreeing with her.
It was finally time for Howie to say his piece, and he opened with ‘I think she’s adorable. I really do, and I just, you know, I hope things go well and you get all your dreams come true.’ Just like with the previous three judges, Celine thanked Howie for his compliments. She was then asked what her greatest desire was, Tam said ‘My biggest dream is to win “America’s Got Talent,” and hopefully meet Celine Dion.’
In spite of being the apparent favorite of the whole audience, Celine was unfortunately eliminated in the second week of the semi-finals, after the aforementioned performance. Even though she didn’t made it to the finals, Tam achieved worldwide fame with her three stunning high-profile performances, which undoubtedly put her in the spotlight for years to come; as a finalist, she would’ve been poised to win $1 million and headline an event on the Las Vegas strip.
The second golden buzzer
Following her massive success in 2017, although not a complete victory, Celine went even further later on. In 2019 she joined China’s “World Got Talent,” making easy work of the competition by winning another golden buzzer. She performed her own song this time, entitled “Who I Am.” The musical piece is written in a way that allows the young singer to make the most out of her vast range.
All four judges loved the performance and kept talking about it for several minutes, but eventually one of the women started praising her more than any other contestant in the recent history of the show. Celine stood on the stage, humble and thankful, just listening, until the judge put her arms together and slammed the golden buzzer button, which, in this spin-off from the original, has the entire globe painted on it.
This made her the first Asian to ever score two golden buzzers, thus breaking her own aforementioned record. This time she dominated the competition straight until the finals, and ended up becoming the youngest finalist on World Got Talent, at only 11 years old. Unfortunately, she didn’t win the competition, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be back another time.
Hey all, wanna review my Golden Buzzer moment at America's Got Talent ? Remember to watch TVB Pearl tomorrow Oct 07 at 2030 ! #tvbpearl #celinetamfans
Posted by Celine Tam 譚芷昀 on Friday, October 6, 2017
Celine’s success abroad
Being the first Asian to achieve the golden buzzer in “America’s Got Talent” Judge Cuts, Celine became a sensation on the Chinese web, which is almost entirely separate from the rest of the internet that users from around the world are familiar with. Her performance of “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” generated over a staggering two billion views on Chinese social media.
That was only her latest out of many claims to fame in China, seeing as she was already a star there before trying out her luck in the United States. She was only five years old upon being featured in the massively popular Chinese children’s talent show entitled “Let’s Sing Kids,” in which she sang “You Raise Me Up” by Secret Garden, garnering national attention with the clarity and range of her voice.
She was later invited to sing three songs during the National Day reception in China. Meanwhile, she attended multiple competitions hosted by the “Hong Kong Children’s Singing Competition,” winning various prizes there. In 2014 she was a guest star at a concert in Shanghai, China, and was invited to perform “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen.” On 1 June of the same year, on Children’s Day, she was hosted as a singer at the Shenzhen TV station. On 31 December 2014 she performed at the 2015 China City Spring Festival Evening, also known as the “Happy Festival.”
All the important events aside, Celine also participated in numerous other musical events, such as the MTR Hong Kong Little Giant Lung Mini Concert and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra Music Show, as well as the World Vision International – Helping children Illuminate you and illuminate me, in 2013. In the following year she took part in over a dozen popular events, including the ATV Touched Hong Kong Person of the Year Awards Ceremony, the Hangzhou Huiyi Charity Gala, and even the China Shila Amzah Gala Concert in Shanghai.
It’s a little-known fact that she also participated in “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2016, but wasn’t as well received as in the other two shows. However, thanks to the support of her parents, the child star never stopped trying to break into the limelight in the western hemisphere, and with “America’s Got Talent,” she finally managed it.
Celine’s arrival to the States
Before her early 2015 New Year’s appearance in China, she moved to the United States with her family, performing the song “You Raise Me Up” in a duet with Jeffery Li, who is a Canadian child singer. Later, in 2015, they showed up together in NBC’s show hosted by Steve Harvey, entitled “Little Big Shots,” where they sang the same song, in response to fans who wanted to hear them sing it again. After this massive success, she stayed in the US permanently, and decided to pursue a career there.
The young singer’s beginnings
Born under the sign of Sagittarius on 22 November 2007, in Hong Kong, China, Celine Tam is a 14-year-old Asian child singer and YouTuber, now with American nationality. Her greatest rise to worldwide fame was receiving a golden buzzer, and almost becoming a finalist in “America’s Got Talent.”
She was raised by her father Dr. Steve Tam, and her mother Jia Ming Shan, and has a younger sister named Dion, which is a pattern that their parents wanted to follow, splitting Celine Dion’s name onto their daughters, as this is how Tam’s talent was first registered. She and her family were somewhere on a road trip, and in the car she started humming the lyrics of “My Heart Will Go On.”
Celine’s father immediately recognized this great talent, promptly opening a studio where she could come every day and learn to sing too. He later turned it into the vocal school called the Sing and You Music Center, where he personally coached Celine.
Although he has a PhD in Business Administration, his passion for music apparently became reignited upon recognizing his daughter’s talent. Steve also performed in several musical contests as a child, but over time became dedicated to a different career. It can be said that he finally realized his dream vicariously, through Celine.
easter holiday is gonna start soon! i’m so excited, cant wait to read and write 🤔✍🏻. what are you guys gonna do for the holidays?#Easter#excitement#holidays#celinetam#writing pic.twitter.com/ioLtA4ED64
— Celine Tam (@celinetam) March 29, 2022
Allegations against her father
Following Celine’s massive success in “America’s Got Talent,” Steve Tam released his own album as well. It had apparently been in the works but under wraps for a long time, so the timing of the release was deemed suspicious by the audiences, who accused him of using his child’s ascent to fame to increase his own profits.
Certain Chinese media companies also brought the legitimacy of his degree into question, since he was generally known to those he provided vocal coaching to as Dr. Steve. While someone with a PhD can indeed have ‘Dr.’ next to their name, it depends on the profession it is being used in. With Steve presenting himself as a doctor in the music industry, he was expected to have a PhD in a subject related to music, not Business Administration.
Certain information on his website was also brought into question, with the years in which he claimed to have won certain singing prizes not matching up with actual history. To that end, he commented ‘It has already been 20 to 30 years, and I couldn’t memorize all the details. That is why there are some discrepancies in the details.’
As per his doctorate, he explained that he started a headhunting company under the name of Dr. Steve, which would in this case be somewhat related to business more than music itself. After that, it seems that he simply kept the name, even after venturing into music. He ultimately apologized for the confusion, and vowed to be a good parental figure to Celine and Dion.
What Celine does today
As mentioned, the child star is also a YouTuber, and she’d be a social media influencer too, if not for the fact that her parents run her Instagram account, which has almost 200,000 followers. On it, they frequently post pictures of Celine in various situations, such as celebrating a birthday or just working out with her friend. The pictures sometimes feature Chinese, but mostly English, as they’re generally more interested in catering to the western audience.
Lastly, her YouTube account has more than a million subscribers, and she uses it to post a variety of content, including vlogs, vocal exercises, life tips her own new songs, and covers of famous tracks. It seems that in September 2022, she’s mostly focused on further increasing her global reach through social networks and YouTube, publishing her own songs from time to time, and probably preparing for another talent show.