NEW BREMEN — Whatever the outcome of 12-year-old Lilly “Rooster” Wilker’s appearance on Tuesday night’s “America’s Got Talent,” (AGT) where she will showcase her ability to imitate at least 25 animals calls, this young girl has plans for her future.
Lilly is the daughter of Tom and Amy Wilker.
At her parents’ mini-farm near New Bremen, Lilly’s remarkable love for animals shows in her career goals.
“I want to be a vet or a marine biologist. Anything to do with animals,” she said. She even is interested in a career doing the animal voices for animated movies like “Lady and the Tramp.”
But before she gets to future goals, Lilly will be showing her skills on the national stage of NBC-TV’s “America’s Got Talent,” after winning out against 75,000 other competitors. Of that original number, 250 were given a chance to audition before the judges of this national show, Lilly being one of them. Tuesday night will be the showcase for those people who made the cut.
Lilly said that the atmosphere for shows like “AGT” is a hectic “Go! Go! Go!…then wait.” Although Mom Amy Wilker does the hair and makeup for Lilly, the producers of the show have final approval.
“We meet so many people during rehearsal: producers, executive producers, camera people,” said Lilly, “it can be exhausting.”
Lilly is no stranger to performing, having already appeared on the Harry Connick Jr. show earlier this year and Steve Harvey’s “Little Big Shots” in March 2017. It was at age 4, when Lilly won a Miss Bremenfest competition, that Amy and father Tom realized their daughter had a talent for entertaining the audience.
“We were floored” said Amy. “We did not even bring a camera or anything. Totally unexpected!”
For all the national exposure, it’s the local appearances, such as the Friday’s visit to Moeller Brew Barn in Maria Stein, where Lilly shows how versatile she can be.
In a portion of the program called “Stump Lilly,” members of the audience were asked to shout out animals for Lilly to imitate. She did get stumped by a llama call, but Lilly’s ease with people allowed her to improvise when someone said, “Do an earthworm!” to which she said, with a smile, “Wiggle, Wiggle.”
Of all the animals Lilly has been involved with, she says its the dolphins she likes the most.
Amy said Lilly had first heard and imitated the dolphins when she was 3, but Amy and her husband said they first realized the extent of her talent when they returned to Sea World when Lilly was about 6.
“We thought we were really in trouble,” said Amy, “when Lilly imitated the dolphins so well that the dolphins broke away from training, and came to Lilly and began to call back to her.” But she said the dolphins’ trainers came over to Lilly, too, and had many questions about her skills.
Whatever the outcome on “AGT” this season, Lilly and her family are looking forward to the future.
“As long as it continues to be fun,” said Amy, “Lilly will be in it.”
Lilly, whose family calls her Dr. Doolittle, will probably be outside communicating with the animals, the experience she loves best.
“America’s Got Talent” will air at 8 p.m. on NBC.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.