“America’s Got Talent” Season 9 judge Howard Stern was amazed by the performance of the Willis Clan, a family of musicians who suffered a tragedy two decades ago.
The 12-member Willis grandchildren performed an Appalachian-infused version of “My Favorite Thing,” a showcase that generated interest and applause not only from the audience but also from “America’s Got Talent” eason 9 judges.
Chicago Tribune reported that the Middle Tennessee-based Willis children – whose age range from 3 to 21- played their own instruments as they wowed the audience. Jada, the youngest of all the members, even performed an amazing Irish step dance in one part of their performance.
“This is exactly what America’s Got Talent loves,” judge Howard Stern said after their performance.
The “America’ Got Talent” season 9 judge added, “I’m thinking, (you’re) like the Osmonds – except so much more talented.”
The family clan made noise in the past years as the member’s grandparents, Pastor Duane “Scott” and Janet Willis suffered a tragedy in 1994 where their six youngest children died, the
NBC Chicago said.
The report added the family was on their way to Wisconsin for a family gathering in November when their car burst in flames right after striking a debris from a truck. The driver later admitted that he paid a bribe just to get a license from one of George Ryan’s secretary of state office.
This also prompted investigation on Ryan’s bribes-for-licenses scandal that resulted to him being imprisoned for five years. The former governor was just released last year.
However, the show did not reveal the contestant’s family history until an
spokeswoman confirmed that they are Scott and Janet Willis’ grandchildren.
The group’s father, Toby Willis, who was not in the car accident, said the tragedy have always put loneliness in the family but stressed that life still goes on.
“Life goes on, you have to just clean up, you have to go on, you have to smile, you have to go on, and I wanted to make sure people knew that we weren’t just going to be sad for rest of life. We are sad, but there’s joy,” Toby Willis told the
Chicago via Facetime.
Howard Stern also added that he is now getting excited on what is in store for Season 9.
“Now we’re on to something,” Stern said after the clan’s performance.
Stern is with other judges Heidi Klum, Mel B, and Howie Mandel for “America’s Got Talent” Season 9.
The Willis clan will be appearing again on the “Judgement Week” on July after getting the nod of the judges.