Clyde native Jonathan Burkin is one of the 20 remaining performers on NBC's reality show America's Got Talent.
The 18-year-old wowed the audience Tuesday night by tossing and twirling up to three fiery batons to the upbeat tune of Elton John's "I'm Still Standing." The following evening, the show announced that he received enough votes from viewers to make it to the next round of competition as the number of contestants is whittled down from 40.
The response from the panel of judges on Tuesday was unwaveringly positive immediately following Burkin's routine.
"There's one word for that: incredible," said Piers Morgan.
Fellow judge Sharon Osbourne called him sensational, and David Hasselhoff went even further in his praise.
"You are probably, as far as I'm concerned, the best baton twirler in the world," he said.
The son of Doug and Denise Burkin has been crowned a national champion in each of the last three years by different organizations. To do it, he had to persevere despite being harassed at times by other kids for being a male baton twirler.
He also had to handle the stress innate to the activity. On Tuesday's show, Burkin said there's no room for error in his pastime - one drop of the baton and you're done.
America's Got Talent is broadcast on WNWO-TV, Channel 24.
The Library of Congress will honor Motown legend Stevie Wonder with its second Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Librarian of Congress James Billington, who announced the prize Tuesday, noted that the prize honors an artist whose work transcends musical styles to bring diverse listeners together and foster mutual understanding. It recognizes a musician's lifetime of work.
Wonder, 58, will receive the award on Feb. 23, 2009. The first Gershwin Prize was awarded in 2007 to Paul Simon.
Self-taught on piano, harmonica and other instruments, Steveland Morris was just 12 when he first wowed national TV audiences on shows like Dick Clark's American Bandstand. He was "Little Stevie Wonder" back then, a name he says someone at then-Detroit based Motown Records - he can't remember exactly who - came up with.
Among his hits are "You Are the Sunshine of My Life," "My Cherie Amour," and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours."
Pop star Cliff Richard has written about his relationship with a former Roman Catholic priest in an autobiography excerpted in a British newspaper yesterday.
Richard, who has had more No. 1 songs in Britain than the Beatles or Elvis Presley, shares his home with John McElynn, identified in media reports as a native of New York City. That was not news; the relationship has not been secret.
In his new autobiography titled My Life, My Way, Richard says that McElynn looks after the singer's properties. "He has also become a companion, which is great because I don't like living alone, even now," Richard said.
He added: "As for my sexuality I am sick to death of the media's speculation about it. What business is it of anyone else's what any of us are as individuals? I don't think my fans would care either way."