Tonight’s episode of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” will reveal whether Hollister native Brooke Simpson advances to the finals.
The judges, audience and Simpon’s family, friends and fans were impressed by her performance of “Lost Cause” by Billie Eilish in the quarterfinals late last month.
In Simpson’s home community, her parents, Mike and Jimille Mills, organized a watch party at the Haliwa-Saponi Tribal Pow-wow Grounds. Mike said that a good crowd participated in spite of the heat, and many more people said they would be watching at home from the comfort of their air conditioning.
Simpson has expressed pride in her Haliwa-Saponi heritage and the Holliser community throughout the competition, and the community has responded. Mike noted that those attending the watch party included not only Tribal members, but also people from the surrounding areas in Warren and Halifax counties.
“The crowd was very enthusiastic,” Mike said. “They were jumping and cheering.”
Simpson worked hard in preparation for her quarterfinals performance, but was still a nervous about going out in front of a huge audience.
Jimille said that she received a text from Simpson before the performance asking for a time of prayer together. Around the same time, Mike sent his daughter a text about the crowd on hand at the watch party and others who were watching from their homes.
The Mills believe that the prayer and the message of support gave Simpson the boost she needed to deliver a strong performance of “Lost Cause” by Billie Eilish. It didn’t take long for fans to respond.
“Our social media blew up,” Jimille said.
The Mills could not have been more proud of their daughter.
“We were blow away,” Jimille said. “She promised us and the fans that she would give everything she’s got. She sang as close to perfection as it could be.”
Then Mike and Jimille anxiously awaited the results show, which aired the following day. Any relief they felt that their daughter was not among the bottom three acts quickly evaporated. Acts were called forward two by two to learn whether they had advanced to the finals or were heading home. They waited and waited for Simpson’s name to be called. By this time, Jimille was pacing the floor. Finally, when the remaining acts were down to three, Simpson was named among the semifinalists.
For the Mills, that moment was especially meaningful due to the level of talent shown by acts at the quarterfinals level. Again, Mike and Jimille received overwhelming expressions of praise and support for their daughter.
“Our phones blew up,” Jimille said.
Simpson did not perform on the first semifinals show, so her family, friends and fans had to wait until last night to see her back on stage. That episode had not aired at press time.
Last week, Mike said that he and his wife talked with their daughter on a regular basis as she prepared for the semifinals.
“She’s doing great, she’s excited and feels confident,” Jimille said. “She’s protecting her voice, doing a lot of vocal resting, and she’s rehearing.”
“She’s putting in the work,” Mike added. “She’s doing a lot of vocal resting.”
Simpson’s family, friends and fans are proud of the talent she has shown so far, and they believe that the best is yet to come.
“America’s Got Talent” airs on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC. Vote by going to nbc.com/agtvote.