MANILA, Philippines >> Fourteen-year-old Aldrich Lloyd Talonding from the southern Philippines can’t believe his luck: talk show host Ellen DeGeneres wants him to fly to the United States to be a guest on her show.
A video of Aldrich’s soulful rendition of Luther Vandross’ "Dance with my Father," — made for fun and posted on YouTube by a cousin — has had more than 1.1 million hits since April 21.
DeGeneres recently played the video on her show, called the boy "amazing" and asked him to "please come here and sing to me and all of my friends here."
Aldrich said today he is applying for a U.S. visa after getting a call from the show’s producer last week. A cousin who played the guitar in the video and an elder sister plan to go with him.
The son of Christian ministers and members of the B’laan indigenous group said he was "happy, surprised and nervous" about his newfound fame.
Philippine journalists have descended on their previously quiet community in General Santos city.
"I was surprised because the video was just made for fun," he said.
Zendee Rose Tenerefe, a Filipino singer also from General Santos city, had alerted the talk show’s producer about the video. Zendee and other Filipino singers including Charice Pempengco began their careers by appearing on DeGeneres’ show.
Aldrich, a high school student and a church choir singer who previously dreamed of becoming a doctor, said he was not yet sure whether he would pursue a singing career. He said he would leave that to the will of God.