Interview: AGT season 12 runner-up Angelica Hale and her dad discuss her 'incredible' journey
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“America’s Got Talent” season 12 runner up Angelica Hale has left an indelible imprint on millions of hearts across America. Her unbridled joy, deep passion for singing and fierce determination to follow her dreams on her AGT journey inspired us and made us smile. As a sepsis and kidney transplant survivor and Children’s Miracle Network ambassador, Angelica remains dedicated to sharing her miraculous recovery story and her unparalleled vocal gifts to lift up children and families across the country who are facing tough medical battles of their own.

The bright, bubbly Atlanta native singer immediately caught America’s attention with her captivating “Rise Up” AGT audition. Over the course of the competition, she tackled a huge list of songs like “Clarity,” “Girl on Fire” and “Without You” with the stage presence, poise, and jaw-dropping vocal prowess of a seasoned professional. At just 10-years-old, she handled the pressure of each intense weekly results show with incredible strength and amazing grace.

Angelica garnered a huge legion of loyal supporters along the way, including some well-known celebrities like Zedd, Paul Stanley, and Marie Osmond, to name a few. Week after week, she triumphantly advanced to the next round. She kicked off the spectacular AGT season 12 finals on Sept. 19 with what was arguably her series-best performance singing Clean Bandit’s anthem “Symphony.” Angelica stood center stage like a mini-diva in a shimmering gold dress and her powerhouse vocals soared in all the right places. She made this huge song seem effortless and the backing strings were stunning.

All four judges leapt to their feet in a unanimous standing ovation at the end. The audience went wild and show boss Simon Cowell might have paid the tiny singer his biggest compliment yet by calling her “relevant” and “cool” then adding, “I can remember going back years ago and seeing some early auditions on Britney, Christina, and even Justin Timberlake, who started their careers on shows like this. We may, sooner rather than later, be looking back on this performance to go, this is the moment your career started. Angelica, you have my absolute respect.”

Wow. Once again, we wholeheartedly agree.

At the final results show the next night, Angelica joined fellow AGT contender Kechi and pop superstar Kelly Clarkson for an amazing, fiery performance of “Stronger.” There couldn’t have been a more fitting song for her to sing for her last performance on the AGT stage. She defied medical odds at the tender age of four and battled her way through one of the most talent-laden seasons of AGT to end up as season 12 runner-up, alongside her friend and AGT winner Darci Lynne Farmer.

Overall, Angelica Hale can arguably be classed as one of the most memorable contenders “America’s Got Talent” has ever seen. Not only for her mind-blowing vocal gift, but her infectious inner joy and sweet, gracious spirit, which tumbles out of her heart in her twinkling eyes, sunny smile, and boundless gratitude. Angelica and her dad, James Hale, recently re-connected with AXS via phone to talk about what she describes as an “incredible” AGT experience. Check out our exclusive Q & A interview below.

AXS: Congratulations, Angelica. You did such a beautiful job on your “Symphony” performance. Last night was so exciting. You’ve had a crazy 48 hours, haven’t you?

Angelica Hale: Yes, I have. It’s so unbelievable and I’m so grateful and happy.

AXS: Your baby sister Abigail is here since the last time we talked. You wrote letters to her in a video clip on the show. Did you write to her the whole time?

AH: I wrote in my diary about it and it was so much fun. I hope that maybe one day I’ll be able to tell my sister about all these wonderful things and these experiences. Maybe she might not remember it because it will be a long time ago when she grows up. But, I’ll tell her all about it. I wonder what her reaction will be when I tell her?

AXS: She’s probably going to be really proud of you. What’s it like to be a big sister?

AH: Being a big sister is very fun and it’s so amazing, because you get to have a responsibility. I’ve always been wishing for a little sister and the funny thing is, when I found out Mommy was going to have a baby, I was talking about getting puppies. Well, this is so much better than getting a puppy.

AXS: How have you been, Dad, with having your new little bundle of joy and all the AGT stuff happening? Has it been kind of crazy?

James Hale: Kind of crazy is an understatement. It’s been an incredible blessing. Non-stop, everywhere I turn, it’s been so wonderful. It’s been hectic, crazy, chaotic. But, we got through it and it was so worth it. We couldn’t be happier.

AXS: Angelica, do you sing lots of songs to Abigail?

AH: Yes. I sing lots of songs to her because maybe she’ll recognize my voice. I sing to her a lot.

AXS: You’ve been through an amazing journey. What was it like every week, when they called your name to let you know whether you were moving forward?

AH: It was very scary for me because I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not. Being up against these people I knew were so talented was so nerve-wracking because they were so good. And I thought ‘How am I going to make it?” and I did and I was so happy with myself. It was literally the best feeling in the world. Then in the final, when we figured out who would win, Darci got called and I was really happy for her.

AXS: What was the energy like at the show the day of your final performance?

AH: Everyone was really pumped up and they were always encouraging me and it helped so much because I felt so confident out there. I think my performance went well and I’m happy with myself.

AXS: Why did you choose to sing “Symphony?”

AH: When I choose my songs, I always want it to mean something to me and that song had a connection between music and me, and my baby sister and me, because she’s really close to me, even though she’s only three weeks old. It’s also a beautiful and big song, and I really, really love it because it has such a beautiful message.

AXS: Dad, you’ve had some incredible Twitter support. Adam Devine, Zedd, Paul Stanley, Marie Osmond, Gilles Marini. How did all these celebrities supporting Angelica make you feel?

JH: It was like 'wow, is this a dream?' For all these people to stand up and say ‘We support you Angelica, we love what you’re doing. You’ve had such a positive impact on the world.’ And, they want to be a part of it and they appreciate her singing. All that is just incredible. It’s awesome validation from incredible people and we’re very honored they support Angelica like that. It’s just mind-blowing.

AXS: Angelica, if you could describe your AGT experience in just one or two words, what would you call it?

AH: I would say, incredible!

AXS: It was probably a lot of work with practice and rehearsals and figuring out what you were going to wear and what you were going to sing. Who did you lean on the most to help you get through all of that?

AH: I leaned on my mom and my dad to help me, because they supported me so much throughout my journey. They were amazing.

JH: You’re right. It’s a lot, when you talk about the logistics, and rehearsals and coaching. It definitely takes a team. We’re going to be there for her 100 percent and we’re so glad we could do so. Not only to be a part of something so amazing, but just to help allow her to do her best out there and I think that’s what she did. She put her best foot forward and I don’t think we have any regrets.

AXS: Angelica, what was your favorite song that you performed?

AH: My favorite was “Symphony” because it was so powerful and amazing. But, I also really liked “Clarity.” Those are my two favorites. But, I really, really liked “Symphony.”

JH: I think it was my favorite too. What a way to go out. “Symphony” was so super big. It was unexpected. We really enjoyed that song and the strings with her voice, it was really breathtaking. It was so powerful and we really felt it. It was beautiful.

AXS: How did you feel when Simon, who is such a big person in the music industry, compared your performance to times when Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears started out singing on stages like that and said he felt like we would look back one day and remember this as the beginning of your career?

AH: It feels so amazing because what I want to do is singing and like you said, he’s a big guy in the music industry. To hear that from him makes me feel even more confident and makes me feel I can really do this.

AXS: You and Kechi sang with Kelly Clarkson. What was that like and what was she like?

AH: Kelly is really, really nice. She’s so amazing and she sang so good live. She’s the sweetest person ever. She knows what it’s like to be on stage and she won “American Idol,” so I look up to her.

AXS: What was it surreal to be out there singing with someone like her?

AH: It was so unbelievable and so surreal. I love all her songs. It was like a dream come true up there singing with her.

JH: For us to witness that, for all the songs you could have sung with artists, that was such a powerful and meaningful song. You all just sounded great together. She was very nice and very open. She’s a cool person.

AXS: In a TV interview, you said Christian Guardino and Darci were your closest friends on the show. Is this right?

AH: Yes. They were definitely my closest friends. They are very nice. AGT is not all about competing. It’s really just about the experience. I made so many friends here on AGT. It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had in my whole life.

AXS: What has it meant to you that people have told you on social media and other ways you’ve inspired them all the way through?

AH: Getting comments like I’m inspiring them is so amazing because that’s what I’m all about. I want to inspire people and tell them my story. I’ve had the most amazing journey in the world.

AXS: You’re going to be performing in Vegas with Darci on November 3rd and 4th. That’s so exciting.

AH: Yes! I get to be in Vegas with Darci. I’m glad to see her again. I’m so happy for her and I’m glad I’m going to be there. It’s going to be so amazing.

AXS: What advice do you have for someone who wants to make their own dream come true?

AH: I want to tell them to always believe in themselves and believe that they can do this. Because, if you work hard, prepare yourself, believe in yourself and have confidence, you will be surprised at how far you can make it.

Follow @AngelicaHale on Twitter and Facebook for more information about her upcoming Planet Hollywood Las Vegas show and stay tuned to AXS for updates.