Life goes on for Skilyr Hicks even though her she won't be appearing anymore on the television show “America's Got Talent.”
The self-taught guitar player, singer and songwriter will start her freshman year at North Augusta High School in August, and she wants to try out for the volleyball team. She's also got some musical performances scheduled, and she plans to release a new CD late next month or in September.
“This is just the start for me,” the 14-year-old said on Thursday afternoon at the Living History Park in North Augusta.
On Wednesday night, during the most recent episode of “America's Got Talent” on NBC, viewers learned that Hicks had been eliminated and would not be competing at New York City's Radio City Music Hall for the show's $1 million prize.
Because that particular segment was pre-taped in Las Vegas, Hicks had known her fate since early June. She's had plenty of time to reflect on the outcome.
“When you're on AGT, a lot of people are very emotional, and they think they should give up their dreams if they don't make it on the show,” Hicks said. “But I think that's where they're wrong because if you give up on your dreams, you give up on yourself. You can't just give up on yourself for one failure.”
Hicks auditioned for “America's Got Talent” earlier this year and earned a trip to Las Vegas when she performed her original song “Brand New Day” and impressed the show's four judges – Howard Stern, Howie Mandel, Heidi Klum and Mel B – in San Antonio. They praised Hicks afterward, and Klum thanked Hicks for telling her story about how music helped her cope following the death of her father, Jon Hicks.
“I feel that you won all of our hearts,” Klum said.
The large audience that was watching the auditions in Texas also was enthusiastic.
In Las Vegas, the situation was much different. Hicks had to perform again, singing another original song, “Second Chance.” But this time, there was no audience in the room with the judges, who showed very little emotion and didn't have much to say after Hicks finished.
Based on the efforts of the other competitors that aired, Hicks' experience wasn't unique. But because she was first up in her group, Hicks didn't know what to expect, and she was surprised by the judges' lack of response.
“I was extremely nervous,” Hicks said. “I think it was the intensity of the whole situation. There was no one else in the room with the judges, and they were so serious. It really threw me off. It was like they didn't like what I was doing, and it discouraged me. I think I am better in front of a big audience because I can feed off of all of the reactions.”
When Hicks finished, Mandel asked her, “How do you feel it went?”
Hicks replied, “I feel it went okay.”
Then Mandel asked, “Do you think you could have done better?”
Hicks responded with a one-word answer, “Maybe.”
After Hicks left the room, Mel B said: “She looked terrified. She did not look like she enjoyed that at all.”
Hicks recalled being disappointed.
“I knew it wasn't my best performance,” she said. “I knew I could have done better, so I wasn't hopeful about making it through.
“But even though I didn't make it through,” she continued, “I wasn't crushed. I'm ok with it. My main goal when I went on the show was to share my music nationally, and I did get a chance to do that. I've gotten new fans, and so many people have reached out to me to tell me their stories. I've also met so many cool and talented people. It's really been amazing.”
Discussing the future, Hicks expressed confidence about her music career.
“AGT has gotten everything rolling,” she said. “I'll keep on performing, and I'll stay in touch with my fans. I know if I keep faith in God, he is going to put me on the path that I want to be on.”
More information about Hicks and announcements about her performance schedule can be found on her website: www.skilyrhicks.com.