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Lansing boy travels to L.A. for 'Ellen' performance (Jan 16 2016)

Discussion in 'News Articles' started by whisper, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. whisper

    whisper Administrator Staff Member Site Administrator

    Jul 31, 2004
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    Eight-year-old Willie Osborn, of Lansing, was just a toddler when Michael Jackson died. But through his parents sharing their favorite old-school music, their son has become familiar not just with the melodies and lyrics of songs and the names of artists, but he’s become a master at imitating their dance moves, especially those of Michael Jackson.

    As he performed for local crowds over the years, his parents shared videos online of their son, who is known as “Willie the Entertainer” to his fans. Those videos first caught the attention of staff at the “Ellen” show two years ago.

    Willie’s father, Jeff Osborn, said that they were initially contacted two years ago by representatives of the show and then again recently.

    “They saw one of his videos on YouTube and sent a message and we’ve been in communication with them for the past two years. They saw him a couple years ago and have kept tabs on him,” Osborn said. “Then they saw a new video I posted and got in touch with us again.”

    This time, Willie was invited to fly out to Los Angeles to perform on the show. On Jan. 5, Jeff and Willie flew to L.A. for a taping the following day. On Jan. 7, Willie’s performance was aired.

    At his young age, he’s built up quite a resume. Willie has appeared at multiple events in the area for Thornton Township, on "Windy City Live" and multiple times at the Family Christian Center in Munster as well as two appearances at the Michael Jackson King of Pop Festival of the Arts in Gary, where he took first place in the 2014 dance competition and met Michael Jackson’s mother.

    “She was really nice,” Willie of Katherine Jackson. He added that he also was invited to see the inside of the Jackson family’s home in Gary. “It’s a beautiful home. I just love everything about Michael Jackson.”

    Willie also took the stage at the Apollo Theatre in New York last year for their weekly amateur night and is awed by the fact that he performed on a stage that Michael Jackson himself had performed on.

    “He got a standing ovation. They said he could come back any time. They really liked him there,” Jeff Osborn said.

    When the call came requesting that Willie appear on “Ellen,” Jeff Osborn said his wife, Nancy was floored. As for Willie, he was excited, but played it cool. “He doesn’t get nervous,” his father said. “I get more nervous than he does.”

    Although he has numerous dance routines that he does to many of Michael Jackson’s hit songs, his father said that "Smooth Criminal" has become his signature dance performance. He danced to that song on “Ellen” following a few minutes of conversation on the couch along side Ellen Degeneres and a little preview of some Elvis moves.

    Jeff Osborn said that Willie and Ellen really hit it off.

    “There was a connection. He really wants to go back and be on the 'Ellen' show again. He loves to entertain.”

    That love of entertaining is in his blood, said his father. “His grandfather on my wife’s side was an entertainer in his county of El Salvador.”

    “It was fun. It was beautiful even though it was raining,” Willie said of his trip to L.A. “Ellen was amazing.”

    Willie doesn’t have the typical hobbies of an 8-year-old that may spend all his time on video games or building with LEGOs or playing with Hot Wheels cars.

    “I like dancing. It’s my favorite thing and I like to play drums.” As with dancing, his drumming skills are self taught. He spends much of his time watching videos of his favorite performers and imitating him.

    Some of his favorites? “The Temptations, Elvis, James Brown, Bruno Mars,” he said. “Michael Jackson’s my favorite. Bruno Mars is my second favorite.”

    Willie also acts and in December played Tiny Tim in the Family Christian Center’s rendition of “A Christmas Carol” over three weekends with four shows each weekend. You can follow “Willie the Entertainer” on Facebook to see more.

    Source: http://www.nwitimes.com/lifestyles/...cle_5298cc76-ca9d-552a-8d4a-d63b21ee23b5.html

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