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Watch: Abu Dhabi-based Filipino kid rocks America with his singing talent

Ashwani Kumar /Abu Dhabi
ashwani@khaleejtimes.com Filed on June 8, 2021

Photos/Ryan Lim

Peter Rosalita (centre) with (l-r) father Ruel Rosalita, music teacher Rose Abegail, godmother Nelia Roque, aunt Mary Jane and mother Vilma Villegas.

He stunned the judges — Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum — and received a standing ovation from the audience.


After his memorable exploits in the UAE, 10-year-old Peter Anthony Villegas Rosalita has now floored America with his powerful voice. The Filipino kid has come out with flying colours from his audition for the season 16 of America’s Got Talent — a competition held in the United States.

Peter sang Eric Carmen’s All By Myself and stunned the judges: Simon Cowell, Sofia Vergara, Howie Mandel and Heidi Klum, and wowed the audience with his high-pitch notes. At the end of the uplifting performance, everyone rose to their feet showering the little one with loads of love.

After a jaw-dropping performance, Cowell underlined that the world will soon take notice of Peter’s talent. “That was an incredible audition. There were parts during that audition that literally gave me goosebumps. You have an amazing voice, amazing personality and amazing energy. Everyone is going to fall in love with you after this audition.”

An excited Vergara asked: “Do you get surprised when you hear your own voice?”

Mandel noted: “You are amazing. I predict you’re going to go far in this competition.”

Klum commended Peter’s voice and added: “It is so high, like a glass would explode. I mean, Mariah (Carey) better watch out.”

Peter lapped up all the attention and accolades. And taking notice of his sensational talent, Celine Dion, who recorded a cover version of All By Myself in 1996, took to Twitter to congratulate Peter.

“Bravo,” Dion’s team tweeted while sharing Peter’s performance posted on AGT’s handle.

And before starting his performance, Peter proudly declared on the stage: “I was born in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, but I am a Filipino citizen.”

Proud to represent UAE

Sharing his experience, Peter told City Times that he was really nervous that with shaking legs, he would actually fall on the stage.

“I was in front of all these famous judges. I had seen them on YouTube and there I was in front of them. Now they were not judging another person but you. After I sang and while waiting for the judges’ comments, my legs were shaking. I felt like I was going to fall. After hearing the judges, I felt very happy. I am proud to represent the UAE and the Filipino community,” Peter, a Grade 5 student of Richmindale school in Abu Dhabi, said.

His mother Vilma Villegas pointed out that Peter started humming to lullabies when he was just six months old.

“My late father and eldest brother used to sing and take part in some singing contests as well. Peter is the third-generation singer in the family. His voice resembles my father’s. He had a high-pitched voice,” said Vilma, who works as a cashier at a hospital.

Vilma said Peter’s selection for America’s Got Talent is a “big blessing” for the family.

“Earlier, Peter would just watch the AGT contest on YouTube. It was an unbelievable feeling to see him perform on the big stage. The feedback from the judges and the audience was amazing. We feel lucky to have such a talent,” Vilma added.

It was Peter’s godmother Nelia Roque who applied for the audition and took care of his day-to-day affairs. Nelia pointed out that Peter has been always wanting and working hard to win competitions.

“By the age of three, he was in love with classical movies and songs. He would sing along whenever he heard a song. Even when he couldn’t utter words properly, he wanted to enter into competitions. He always wanted to win trophies and medals. We told him he would get minus points if he couldn’t even pronounce the words properly. So, he started to work on his pronunciation and diction because he really wanted to win competitions.

“And when we realised he has a voice, we enrolled him in the Cadenza Music Institute, and the rest, as they say, is history. He kept winning competitions. Once he won in the Kazakhstan festival, we realised he is capable of going to a bigger stage and that’s how AGT happened,” said Nelia.

An amazing journey

Peter’s journey of singing competitions started when he was in Grade 1 of Philippine-Emirates Private School Abu Dhabi. He came third in his maiden music competition. He was enrolled at Cadenza Music Institute to learn and train his vocals. In the next few years, he pocketed top honours at Deerfield Star Season 2, Al Breem Little Star, BurJuman Rising Star, Tessafest IV International Music Festival Competition in Kazakhstan, Mushrif Mall Talentology, First Gulf Musician Idol Competition among many others held mostly in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

And there are a lot of other people behind Peter’s success. His father Ruel Rosalita, aunt Mary Jane Villega, Cadenza Music Institute teacher Rose Abegail and friend Hannah Jino Koshy.

Rose said she was speechless after seeing Peter’s performance. Rose had actually selected the song All By Myself for Peter to perform.

“He always wants to enjoy. He wants to perform. He gives time and attention. He just needs to continue learning and training.”

Rose said that Peter is now an inspiration for all the other kids at the music institute.

“When he first joined, during a summer camp of 2018, Peter sang You Raise Me Up. It is also one of my favourite songs. I immediately knew this boy is destined for big achievements. This kind of talent is very rare. So, I am very happy that we are able to help him to learn and improve more. Peter is an inspiration for all the other kids here. He has proven that you can make it big at such a platform. You can shine on the big stage.”

And Rose can’t stop raving about Peter.

“For a small boy like Peter, it is amazing to have such a voice. And he will get better with age. We need to work on his low tone too to improve. I am sure there is so much more to come from him.”

ALSO READ:

>> UAE driver wins 10 times his salary in talent show

author

Ashwani Kumar

I am a newspaperman from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. A journalist at heart. I get my stories from the streets. A south Indian born in the Hindi heartland, I easily connect with people from different nationalities and cultures. I am calm like a monk, sensitive and very patient reporter. On the ground, I cover a range of topics related to community, health, embassy, tourism, transport, business and sports. I will go out on a leg to do what’s right and stand by what I believe in.





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