After his rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing, described by the judges as “breathtaking”, Peter Rosalita sailed through to the semi-finals of America’s Got Talent.
The Abu Dhabi-born star, 10, made his first live appearance on the talent show on Tuesday night, with a performance that brought the audience and the judges to their feet.
And Wednesday night’s results, determined by public vote, secure him a place in the semi-finals.
“I'm overwhelmed and jumping with joy!” Peter wrote in a tweet. “I'm through to the next round! Thank you to all who voted for me. I love you all!”
Speaking to The National after the results, Peter’s mother, Vilma Villegas, said she felt “thankful and blessed”.
“It feels like a dream, we almost cannot believe it,” she said. “At home [in Abu Dhabi] we know that Peter is just a normal kid. But whenever he is out there performing, he turns in to this larger-than-life character that brings us so much pride and joy.
“We are immensely grateful to be a part of our son’s journey. He is happiest when he is performing and so we are. There’s nothing more we could ask for. Thank you to everyone for all the support.”
Peter was one of 12 quarter-finalists to perform on Tuesday night's show, which also featured magician Dustin Tavella, comedienne Gina Brillon and Matt Johnson, an escape artist.
Peter, a Grade 5 student at Richmindale School in Abu Dhabi, became an internet sensation in June after his audition for America’s Got Talent was posted online.
The video, in which the youngster performs a version of the Eric Carmen and Celine Dion song All By Myself, has been viewed more than seven million times since it was uploaded on June 2.
An only child, Peter lives with his parents and aunt, Mary Jane Villegas, in Abu Dhabi. Aunt Mary Jane, who is also his guardian, is accompanying him in the US.
"Peter has had various experiences in competitions, which we believe has instilled in him the sense of valuing hard work and realising that it may or may not always end up with a win,” mum Villegas said. "He knows that what matters most is giving his best each and every time he performs.”