Poringland schoolboy is a firm favourite for Britain’s Got Talent TV title
The family of a schoolboy singer being tipped for stardom have told how they have been overwhelmed by the public's reaction.
The nation appears to have taken Ronan Parke to their hearts after seeing him brave the judges and a huge crowd in one of the most memorable performances so far on popular television show Britain's Got Talent.
Viewers watched on Saturday night as the Framingham Earl High School pupil worked up the courage to perform, supported in the wings by his parents Trevor and Maggie, and his older brother Declan, 15.
Hundreds of thousands of people have now watched the 12-year-old's audition on the internet, and overnight he has been thrust into the spotlight.
In an interview with the Evening News at the family's Poringland home, Ronan admitted he had been through a rollercoaster of emotions, and that he was taken aback by the reaction of the judges.
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Comedian Michael McIntyre told him: 'You are a star Ronan. You have taken a room and you have just blown the roof off it.'
Fellow judge Louis Walsh said: 'Ronan, I'm going to predict really big things for you.'
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He added: 'Ronan Parke - remember that name. This kid is going to be a star.'
Following his amazing audition, the talented student has already been compared to pop sensation Justin Bieber.
Talking about being compared to teen heartthrob J-Biebz, Ronan said that he felt flattered but explained he hopes to see his own name up in lights one day.
'I take that as a very big compliment because Justin Bieber is one of the biggest pop stars in the world,' he said. 'But although I like being compared to him, I want to be myself. I don't want people to think 'That's the new Justin Bieber', I want them to think 'That's Ronan Parke'.'
The family say it is a relief now the audition has been aired, as they had to keep quiet about how Ronan had fared.
Ronan said: 'It's really weird to see me singing on the television. At the time I couldn't hear much because the audience were so loud, but it was a really good feeling to see it back.
'I've had over a thousand messages on Facebook and over a thousand friend requests as well.'
Sadly, Ronan has already seen in this short time some of the downsides of fame, with a few people posting nasty comments online.
But the youngester is very mature for his age and his parents have pledged to do their best to protect him from negative comments and the pressure that such a competition can bring.
Ronan's mum Maggie, who works with adults with learning difficulties for Norfolk Community Health and Care, and dad Trevor, a self-employed builder, say they are just proud that their son has come this far and anything else will be a bonus.
Mrs Parke, 52, said: 'It's just been overwhelming. I didn't expect all this - it's been a real shock.'
Mr Parke, 49, added: 'The reaction he got on the stage, when we saw that we couldn't believe it, we virtually floated back from London to Norwich. We were blown away by the response.'
Ronan is now busy practising two or three songs, along with singing teacher Kay Webber, who he credits with giving him the confidence to be able to apply for the talent contest.
He said: 'She's built up my confidence and helped me control my voice.'
Mrs Parke added: 'She's had a huge influence on Ronan. Before he saw Kay he could sing really well, but he was straining his voice because he just knew how to belt it out.'
After the storm and excitement of Saturday night, it was back to some normality on Sunday and it was Ronan's turn to cheer on his brother Declan, who plays for Dereham Town's under-15s team.
And the family's good fortune continued, as the team beat Mulbarton by six goals to nil to take the league title, with Ronan being asked to do the honours and present the cup.
Declan, 15, who is also a pupil at Framingham Earl, said: 'I'm proud of him. We've known he's a good singer for a while and it's good that other people can now see how good he is.'
The Parkes are close friends of Norwich City legend Bryan Gunn, and the two families watched the show together on Saturday night.
The former goalkeeper's daughter Melissa helped Ronan to put together his application for Britain's Got Talent, and Ronan's brother Declan is a close friend of Mr Gunn's son Angus.
Mr Gunn said: 'We are all very proud of Ronan and it's fantastic because it's been a dream of his for a long time to sing. He's got a very powerful voice, but he is quite adaptable to what sort of songs he sings. We shall all be rooting for him.'
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