Watch: Peter Rosalita's 'breathtaking' live performance on 'America's Got Talent'

The Filipino singer, 10, who performed a Whitney Houston song, is one of the favourites to progress to the semi-finals on the hit reality show

Filipino singer Peter Rosalita made his first live show appearance on America’s Got Talent on Tuesday night, wowing the judges and audience with his rendition of a Whitney Houston song, prompting judge Sofia Vergara to call his performance “breathtaking”.

Peter, 10, who was born in Abu Dhabi, was one of the first performers of the night, and took to the stage in a shimmering silver suit before belting out I Have Nothing, Houston’s huge 1993 hit used in the soundtrack of her film The Bodyguard.

By the end of his performance, all four judges – Vergara, Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel – were on their feet, along with the show’s audience, at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

“I can’t believe that voice is coming out of you,” Vergara exclaimed.

Klum said: “I was the biggest fan of Whitney Houston, and you really did her proud. It was amazing."

Cowell, meanwhile, called Peter's performance “gutsy”.

“In my opinion, you are going to sail through to the next round," he said, before advising Peter that he might want to choose a more age-appropriate song for his next performance.

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.

Not all acts received rave reviews. "It was absolutely awful," Cowell said of comedian Sethward's act. "We can now officially call this show America Does Not Have Talent."

Peter's fate now lies in the hands of US viewers, who are allowed to vote up to 10 times each for their favourite acts. The results, which will be announced on Wednesday's show, will reveal which seven acts from the first night will progress to the semi-finals.

Another group of 12 quarter-finalists will perform live next week.

"My husband and I are nervous but at the same time extremely excited for Peter. He has brought so much pride and joy to our hearts and to everyone who supports him around the world," Peter's mother, Vilma Villegas, told The National last week, after the names of the 35 quarter-finalists were revealed.

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.

Peter Rosalita-AD  Peter Rosalita, 10, with his parents Ruel Rosalita, Vilma Villegas, and aunt Mary Jane Villegas in Abu Dhabi on June 7, 2021.
Reporter: David Tusing Features

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.”

The youngster took to Twitter a few hours after his performance to thank his supporters.

"It was an amazing experience performing on the live show," he wrote. "I have nothing by gratitude to all of you. Thank you for all the positive comments I'm continuously receiving. You don't know how much it means to me. I love you all."

Updated: August 11th 2021, 1:52 PM