Belfast Telegraph

Singing sensation Kaylee (11) on song as she prepares to thrill audiences in TV talent show Little Big Shots

By Claire McNeilly

An 11-year-old singer from Co Down is set to wow audiences tomorrow evening when she appears on the new ITV talent show, Little Big Shots.

Kaylee Rogers, who is autistic and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), will make her debut appearance on our screens during the programme hosted by actress and comedian, Dawn French.

The Killard House Year 8 pupil was a massive hit earlier this year when she performed on the primetime TV US talent programme of the same name, giving a stunning rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

The gifted Donaghadee schoolgirl also captured hearts and inspired many around the world in December 2016 when a video of her singing at her school's Christmas concert went viral.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Kaylee's mum Tracy (47), a carer and full-time mother, said she wasn't allowed to give away too many secrets ahead of the show, but she revealed: "It's going to be really beautiful."

Based on the American series, Little Big Shots showcases children aged three to 13 in a programme with no prizes at stake and no competition; it's all about children as host Dawn gets to know each of them on stage.

Their special gifts range from classically-trained musicians to black-belt karate champions and everything in between as each episode unveils stunning and entertaining talents from children across the UK. Mrs Rogers said Kaylee has been growing in confidence through singing and added that she, husband Neil (58), and their younger son Noah (10) - who also has ADHD and autism and attends Longstone Special School in Dundonald - were extremely proud of the youngster's success.

"We couldn't be prouder of Kaylee," she said.

"The one thing that's easy for Kaylee in life is singing and performing. It allows her to enter her magical world. I truly believe this has happened for a reason.

"Autism is a hidden disability. She's embracing her talent in life and I only hope that she can give others with different abilities and their families hope."

The YouTube clip of Kaylee's performance on NBC's Little Big Shots with American a cappella group Pentatonix has been seen by millions of people online.

But despite her soaring popularity, the young schoolgirl is finding it easy to keep her feet firmly on the ground.

"Kaylee knows she's going to be on television, but there's not that much that impresses her," said Tracy, who is originally from the US but has lived in Northern Ireland for 16 years.

"With her autism, I just keep her happy with singing and I try to keep her life the same as much as possible, so she doesn't get caught up in thinking that any of this is a big deal," she added.

"We'll all be watching tomorrow night and I think she is going to love it. It was a beautiful time for her. The team at Little Big Shots UK have been amazing; they've embraced her and been very patient."

Tracy also expressed her gratitude to others who have helped her talented daughter along the way.

"I'm just a mum who tries to guide her to be a good person and who tries to teach her right from wrong," she added.

"But we couldn't have achieved so much without the support of Killard House school, especially principal Colin Millar and head of music Lloyd Skates, and Kaylee's doctor Mr Matt McConkey."

So will anything at all have changed for inspirational Kaylee come Monday morning?

"She's excited about seeing her debut on TV but that excitement won't last long," Tracy said.

"It'll be back to school and back to the things she's much more interested in, like her American girl dolls, her friends and, of course, what's for dinner."

Watch Kaylee's performance in the fourth episode of the second series of Little Big Shots, ITV1, Sunday,7pm.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph