A nine-year-old boy from Nelson – Luke Esden – has won the first-ever American Idol Experience for juniors aged up to 13 at Hollywood Studios in Florida during a recent visit.
Luke is a pupil at St Paul’s CE Primary School, Nelson. The family from Highgate – mum Louise, dad David and Luke – went on holiday in Florida.
David explained: “This was the first time in five years they held a junior competition, and the winner would be invited as a guest singer at the finale of the adult competition that evening.
“Luke was competing against four other children up to 13 years old – local and visitors – who had to complete a full audition process to win a place in the competition which was held at six o’clock, one hour before the adult finale.
“His performance earned him a standing ovation in his heat and the finale. You can see a Youtube video – ‘Luke Esden-American Idol Experience 2013’.
“Luke was invited back to audition again later in the week, and once again he beat all competitors and ended up winning for a second time.”
And David added: “Luke started singing when he was hospitalised at the age of four with diabetes and listened to music on his headphones. He has had no tuition or coaching, but is able to sing anything from Kelly Clarkson to Aerosmith.
“He has an amazing memory for music and lyrics and he has entered Britain’s Got Talent (without success), but we are hoping he has more luck next time.”
He concluded: “He has only sung in public to a small audience on two occasions previously, just to see if he had the confidence, so this time to over 1,000 people was a revelation to us all.”
Luke said: “I was very excited when I won because I was nervous at first, and I was amazed to see all the people standing up and cheering. I felt like a pop star when people wanted my photo with them, and I couldn’t wait to do it again.”
And an American viewer of his Youtube video stated: “This performance is absolutely amazing! I got the goosebumps! Luke is truly talented.”