Abu Dhabi's Peter Rosalita on his viral 'America's Got Talent' journey: 'I was watching others on YouTube, now I'm watching myself'
The audition video of the Filipino singer, 10, has been viewed more than three million times since it was uploaded online on June 2
If his dream of becoming a famous singer does not pan out, America’s Got Talent contestant Peter Rosalita says he’d like to be a civil engineer. Or a computer programmer.
For now, though, the Filipino boy, 10, from Abu Dhabi is basking in his newfound online fame, after he stunned judges during his audition on the hit US reality show.
The video of Peter’s audition, on the first episode of the show’s 16th season, has been viewed more than three million times on YouTube since it was uploaded on June 2.
“You have an amazing voice, an amazing personality, an amazing energy. Everyone is going to fall in love with you after this audition,” judge and show creator Simon Cowell said after Peter’s rendition of the 1975 Eric Carmen song All By Myself, also made famous by Celine Dion in 1996.
Dion’s team even shared Peter's audition video on Twitter..
Speaking to The National, Peter, who’s been training his voice at a music school in Abu Dhabi for the past two years, says he is still coming to terms with the response he’s received from his audition that has gone viral.
“I am so happy. I was watching other America’s Got Talent contestants on YouTube before and now I’m watching myself,” he says.
A Grade 5 student at Richmindale school in Abu Dhabi, it was Peter’s music teacher at the Cadenza Music Institute who helped him pick his audition song.
It was so amazing and overwhelming meeting all the judges. I had only a few minutes with them
“We chose the song because it fits my range of voice,” he says. His other favourite song is Never Enough, performed by Loren Allred in the film The Greatest Showman. Peter counts Dion, Josh Groban, Whitney Houston and Bruno Mars among his favourite artists.
An only child, Peter was born in Abu Dhabi and lives with his parents and aunt, Mary Jane Villegas, his guardian who travelled with him to the US for the audition and who can also be seen in the video. His father, Ruel, is a chef, while his mother, Vilma, works as a cashier.
He says his family decided to send his first audition tape to the show after they noticed he was obsessively watching America’s Got Talent videos on YouTube.
“You need to send your audition video on their online audition site and if you are chosen you will follow their process,” he explains.
All expenses for the 10-day trip to California, for both Peter and his aunt, were covered by the show.
“It was so amazing and overwhelming meeting all the judges. I had only a few minutes with them as there are a lot of other contestants,” Peter says of his trip to the US in April.
While he’s still under contract with the show, the youngster is currently back in Abu Dhabi, and would not reveal any spoilers.
“I had my celebrity judge audition, so please follow the show as well as my social media as it progresses,” he teases.
Villegas, who brought Peter’s parents to the UAE 12 years ago, says the family noticed his gift at an early age.
“He used to love to sing along to cartoon videos that usually have a lot of musical scenes, even before he could properly utter the words,” she says.
In 2018, they decided to enrol him at a music school to polish his skills.
Rose Abegail Ortiguero, a music teacher and the managing director of the Cadenza Music Institute in the UAE capital, says Peter is a natural.
"Peter loves practising and never complains. He is one of our best students and his audition just blew us away,” she tells The National.
As he waits for the show to progress, Peter, who is currently on a school break, says he’s back to his vocal and piano lessons for now. He also loves watching TV and enjoys drawing in his spare time.
He’d like to buy a Nintendo Switch if he happens to bag the show’s $1 million prize money. But if Peter does not win, life will go on as before, he says.
“It will be the same as before I joined America’s Got Talent ... Studying, my twice-a-week vocal classes and playing."
Updated: June 8, 2021 03:46 PM