Just a heads up, you might want to have some tissues handy before reading this article.
A 21-year-old man with Down syndrome has become this year’s first viral sensation thanks to his stunning audition on a UK reality TV show.
The video of Andrew’s appearance on BBC one show The Greatest Dancer has been viewed more than 22 million times on Facebook since last week.
Here’s how the show works according to its website: “The audition takes place in a dance studio like no other — dancers will perform in front of a mirror which has an audience on the other side, watching and voting if they like the performance or not.
“If 75 per cent of the audience vote to say they like what they see, the mirror will open and the dancer will go through to the next stages of the competition and be mentored by one of the Dance Captains (Cheryl, Matthew Morrison and Oti Mabuse). But fail to hit 75 per cent and they’ll be dancing alone and not progress any further.”
Watch Andrew’s audition in full below, but grab some tissues first:
The show is made by Simon Cowell’s company, Syco, and if there’s one thing Cowell knows how to do, it’s make TV that tugs at the heart strings. And that’s exactly what happened when Andrew was featured in the show’s first episode last week.
In a piece to camera before his audition, Andrew’s mum explained that his son discovered dancing by watching Strictly Come Dancing on TV 10 years ago.
“He used to re-enact all the dances in our living room,” Donna said. “It just made him feel joyful.”
Andrew appeared nervous at first when he took to the stage to dance to Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling, but it took just 35 seconds for 75 per cent of the audience to vote in his favour.
As the mirror opened and Andrew saw the huge crowd cheering him on, he was visibly overwhelmed and stopped dancing momentarily before his mum encouraged him to keep going.
When his routine finished, Andrew received a standing ovation from the crowd and two of the judges were in tears.
“I just feel really moved by the whole thing,” dance captain and former Girls Aloud member Cheryl commented.
“That was amazing and to watch you and see your excitement and see how much you thrive from an audience is such a special moment.
“You should be really proud of yourself. You clearly need to be doing this more because it does something for your soul.”
Former Glee star Matthew Morrison agreed, saying, “I think you’re gonna inspire a lot people with that performance”.
If viewers weren’t in tears yet, producers then added another uppercut of emotion when they brought Andrew’s best mate, Tom, onto the stage to congratulate his friend.
The Greatest Dancer is an eight-part series which airs in the UK on BBC One on Saturday nights.
The winner of the show will walk away with $88,000 in prize money and get to perform on another reality show, Strictly Come Dancing.
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