Editor's note: This article has been updated with the results of Wednesday night's finale. A previous version of this story indicated that Clair finished in 9th place but it has been brought to our attention that the bottom five on the finale episode were announced in no particular order.
Evie Clair sang “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong in the finals of “America’s Got Talent” last night in honor of her father, Amos Abplanalp, who died earlier this month due to colon cancer.
“That was my dad’s favorite song,” Clair said in an interview with "Entertainment Tonight." “He would always sing that.”
While the LDS teen ultimately finished in the bottom five on the finale episode, her resilience inspired many throughout the reality television talent competition. In footage before her Tuesday night performance, Clair expressed that while it was a difficult decision to return for the finals of “America’s Got Talent,” her father’s example gave her the courage to do so.
"My dad taught me, after I started something, to always finish it," Clair said. "That's why I'm fighting to the end, just like he did."
All four judges of “America’s Got Talent” were touched by Evie’s performance Tuesday night and gave the 13-year-old a standing ovation.
“I just want to say that our hearts and our souls go out to you, Clair,” said judge Howie Mandel. “I cannot believe the strength that I’m seeing in such a beautiful young girl, and this is a very dark time in your life, and we all go through dark times.
“And what gets us through is hoping and praying for that light at the end of the tunnel. And your voice and your song and your presence here is that light at the end of the tunnel.”
Clair kept her composure through the emotional rendition of the Armstrong cover Tuesday night. Accompanied by a simple piano arrangement, a light waterfall cascaded down behind her as she sang on stage.
“I just prayed before that I would be able to do that,” she told "Entertainment Tonight." “I feel like I really had strength from God, and I know my dad was there.”
In the "Entertainment Tonight" interview, Clair, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also encouraged those who may be experiencing similar trials to continue to have faith.
“Know that God is on our side. He doesn’t abandon us. These hard things don’t happen because he doesn’t love us. He does this because he loves us,” she said. “He wants to make us stronger. He wants to prepare us for even harder things down the road, even though it seems like this is the hardest thing that could possibly happen.”
Evie’s mother, Hillary Abplanalp, expressed gratitude on her blog for those who have supported her daughter through this experience.
“Thank you for lighting up social media last night with Evie Clair,” she wrote. “I was reminded by a friend that Clair means light and in some languages it means famous. Both seem appropriate for sweet Evie Clair. She has been a light to me through the darkest days of my life.”
Regardless of who wins, Hillary Abplanalp stated on her blog that she is simply thankful for her faith through the experience.
“My gratitude tonight is to my Heavenly Father and His Son who is the true Light of the World,” she said. “Evie Clair is only reflecting that source. A mother couldn’t ask for more from her children.”