NP teen set to compete in ‘New England’s Got Talent’

NP teen set to compete in ‘New England’s Got Talent’

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Antonio Lorenzo Ross seems like an all-around American teen. The Birchwood Middle School honors student, 13, plays basketball with North Providence’s recreation league, runs cross-country at school and has good friends and a supportive family.

What some might not know about Ross, the son of Monica and Bryan Ross, is that he’s also a finalist in the “New England’s Got Talent” competition, to be held on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the Stadium Theatre Performing Arts Centre in Woonsocket.

Ross, who competes under the name Antonio Lorenzo, told The Breeze that 140 people competed in “New England’s Got Talent” auditions in mid-August and he was one of 30 artists chosen to participate in the Sept. 23 competition. There will be a most popular act, chosen by the audience, and the judges will choose a winning act. The judges’ selection, he said, wins a $1,500 prize and a guaranteed audition with a talent producer of “America’s Got Talent,” the popular NBC television show.

Ross already has experience with “America’s Got Talent,” when he auditioned this past January in New York City for the show by singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” a cappella before several scouts, but no judges. Ross, who said he saw at least 2,000 to 3,000 other people auditioning at that event, said, “I wasn’t nervous until we got to the part right before we went in (to start performing).”

Even without winning, he described it as a fun experience, despite the long lines of people waiting to perform. He said he wasn’t notified until spring that he hadn’t made it.

Asked about his chances to win “New England’s Got Talent,” Ross was positive. “If I don’t win, I will definitely keep trying for both (‘New England’s Got Talent’ and ‘America’s Got Talent’). There’s always a next time.”

He sang Andra Day’s “Rise Up” at his “New England’s Got Talent” audition, and must sing it again at the competition, he said.

“I chose it because I heard it on ‘America’s Got Talent’ and it’s an emotional, beautiful song,” said Ross. “I wanted to go with something more difficult.”

Before he began working with a voice coach to improve his musical chops, Ross played the turkey boy and some other small singing and dancing parts in Trinity Repertory Company’s production of “A Christmas Carol” during the 2015-16 season.

He started singing for fun when he was around 8 or 9 years old, moved into karaoke and then participated in talent shows at his elementary school, Stephen Olney Elementary. Now, he sings “The Star-Spangled Banner” at school events and plans to audition to do so at PawSox games.

He’s grateful to his supportive family, his parents and his younger sister, Isabella, 10, and his many friends, many of whom he expects will attend the Sept. 23 competition and vote for him.

Ross especially likes songs by Adele, Whitney Houston and Frank Sinatra, though he hasn’t done any Sinatra covers yet. He said he simply loves to sing, and does so when he’s around the house cleaning, doing homework or feeling bored.

Though he doesn’t yet know how to play the piano, another goal, he hopes to start writing some of his own music and, long term, to study music.

“I want to fulfill my dream to perform and make music of my own and send a message through my music.” That message? “To always love yourself and don’t let anyone get in the way of anything you try to do.”

As for the upcoming competition, Ross said, “I’m not nervous now, but the week or the day before, my nerves will start to kick in. When I get on the stage, I don’t know how I deal with it … sometimes I’ll be shaking but once I get to the (song’s) climax, I’m OK.”

What advice would he give other competitors in any field?

“I would just tell them to never be afraid and always put yourself out there,” he said. “You’ll never know; there’s a right time and a right place for everything.”

To purchase tickets or for more information about the Sept. 23 event, visit: http://www.stadiumtheatre.com/events/new-england-s-got-talent/63 .