An Abu Dhabi resident aged 10 has floored the judges and viewers of the latest season of America's Got Talent, prompting judge Heidi Klum to say "Mariah better watch out."
Peter Rosalita performed the 1975 Eric Carmen song All By Myself, also made famous by Celine Dion in 1996, in the first episode of the reality show's 16th season, which aired on Tuesday.
Dressed in a white suit paired with a blue shirt and tie, the youngster immediately charmed the show’s four judges as soon as he walked on to the stage.
“I was born in Abu Dhabi, UAE, but I am a Filipino citizen,” he said confidently.
When asked what he would do with the $1 million prize money if he won, Rosalita said he would buy a Nintendo Switch and a laptop for his online school.
“You realise you’ve only spent $1,500 so far?” judge Howie Mandel joked.
Rosalita, who warmed up to his song in a lower register, shocked the crowd when he got to the chorus, hitting various octave jumps as a stunned Simon Cowell looked on.
By the time he was done, all four judges – Klum, Mandel, Cowell and Sofia Vergara – were on their feet.
"That was an incredible audition,” the usually hard-to-please Cowell said. "There were parts during that audition that literally gave me goosebumps. You have an amazing voice, an amazing personality, an amazing energy. Everyone is going to fall in love with you after this audition.”
"I predict you're going to go far in this competition,” Mandel chimed in.
A shocked Vergara asked him: “Do you get surprised when you hear your own voice?”
Klum said Rosalita’s voice was “so high you would think a glass would explode”.
Predictably, Rosalita then got a resounding "yes" from all four judges, ensuring his place in the next round of the competition.
Prior to his potentially life-changing appearance on the hit reality show, the young singer has been winning awards for his voice in the UAE.
In 2019, Rosalita, then 8, beat 109 other contestants to win Deerfields Star, a children's talent competition hosted by Deerfields Mall in Abu Dhabi, and took home prizes worth more than Dh5,000 ($1,361) in gifts and shopping vouchers at the competition.
He has been polishing his vocals at the Cadenza Music Institute in Abu Dhabi since 2018.
"He is one of our best students and we're so excited with his audition," Rose Abegail Ortiguero, a music teacher and the managing director of the institute told The National. "Peter loves practicing and never complains. The future is really bright for him. He's just getting started."
Before his Tuesday appearance, the youngster has also been documenting his journey to America's Got Talent.
“US-bound from Abu Dhabi,” he posted on April 24.
On May 2, he posted a photo of himself outside the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in California where the auditions were held.
America's Got Talent, created by Cowell, first premiered in 2006 and has been a ratings success for broadcaster NBC. While last year's season was held mostly virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, the new instalment features the return of a live audience, with actor Terry Crews returning as host.
Besides the $1m prize money, the eventual winner will also receive a headlining show in Las Vegas.