Luke Islam has dreamed of being a Broadway star since he was 6 years old, when he sang and danced for his parents in his room. Now, at age 12, his dreams are starting to come true: He is a semifinalist on “America’s Got Talent.”
“I used to perform in front of two people — my parents,” said Luke, a Garden City South resident who attends H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square. “Now I’m performing in front of 2,000.”
He was scheduled to compete against more than 20 other acts, ranging from singers and dancers to comedians and even a painter, on Tuesday, after the Herald went to press.
Luke has sung since he was 4, when his preschool put on a showcase. He hasn’t stopped since, his father, Mithun, said, at Luke’s “AGT” audition.
“Luke sings when he’s brushing his hair [and] putting his clothes on,” he said, with Luke adding that he sings “a lot when I’m brushing my teeth. I don’t know if that’s healthy.”
In his free time, Luke said, he watches “AGT” with his mother, Rebecca, and auditioned for the show twice before because it was the only one “giving kids the opportunity to perform on television.”
“I just looked up to so many acts,” he said. “Now I’m one of the acts performing.”
He almost gave up after his last audition didn’t work out. But with a lot of perseverance and help from Carey chorus teacher Kelly Tefar, Luke auditioned again in March, singing “She Used to Be Mine” from the musical “Waitress.”
When he finished his rendition, the five judges all complimented him, with Howie Mandel saying, “I think we’re watching the beginning of your dream coming true,” and Julianne Hough saying that he wouldn’t have to wait very long for his dreams to come true before she pressed the Golden Buzzer, which advances a contestant to the live show, regardless of how the other judges vote. Simon Cowell then told Hough that it “was a great call,” and “you have no idea what that’s going to do for him.”
By the time the episode aired in July, Luke said, he gained nearly 9,000 followers on social media, and Sara Bareilles, who wrote the songs for “Waitress,” even retweeted his performance, writing that she was “going to be weeping forever and ever.”
“A part of me wanted to just jump up and scream,” Luke recalled at his last performance, “which I might have done.”
Since then, he has received a standing ovation in the quarterfinals when he sang “You Will Be Found” from “Dear Evan Hansen.” Once the applause died down, the usually stoic Cowell said, “That shouldn’t come from you at 12 years old.” Hough remarked, “I see a long, long career ahead for you.”
Now, in preparation for the semifinals, Luke is in constant rehearsals with his performance coach, Brooke Procida, and is drinking a lot of Vitamin C, he said.
“I know that I have to do my best,” he told the Herald, adding that he is grateful for all the opportunities he has had.