Durant High School graduate Jeremy Rosado was just 6 years old when he first took the stage.
“I can’t believe I’m sharing this,” said Rosado, 19. “I loved Britney Spears. And it was bad. I was a little boy, probably 6, 7 years old, trying to sing and dance like her.”
These days, the Valrico resident has his own style, which he exhibited to effect at the Savannah, Ga., Season 11 auditions of “American Idol” when he sang Luther Van Dross’s “Superstar.”
Judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson were duly impressed with Rosado’s performance, sending him on to competition in Hollywood.
“When they gave me that golden ticket, I was kind of thinking they were talking to the girl that was waiting on deck to go after me, and maybe they just made a mistake,” said Rosado, the son of Wendy Ocasio and Junior Rosado. “I can’t believe that Jennifer Lopez, Stephen Tyler and Randy Jackson said, ‘Yes, you’re going to Hollywood.’ "
Savannah was Rosado’s fifth time auditioning for “American Idol.”
“This is my dream,” he said. “I know that sounds so cliché. But I’m living in it, in the moment. I still haven’t let it soak in yet, how good feels. I feel so blessed."
A Hillsborough Community College student and front desk clerk at an infectious diseases doctor's office, Rosada was given the nickname "Dirty" by Idol judge Randy Jackson "because I’m a complete germaphobe. I’m always disinfecting everything," said Rosado.
Rosado said his musical influences include Christian artists Francesca Battistelli, Kirk Franklinn and Israel Houghton.
He said his favorite Idol contestants include last year’s finalists, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery. “I would love to meet them both one day,” he said.
"I’m the next American Idol, I don’t know why, because this is my dream. I’m not taking any of this for granted," he said. “I’m trying to be as humble as possible.”
"American Idol" airs Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. on Fox.