Huntington native Dylan Wilson became a hometown sensation when his style of hip-hop animation dancing impressed the celebrity judges on NBCs Americas Got Talent this season.
Although the 17-year-old admits that offstage he is a bit shy, he is full of confidence when he is put in the spotlight.
When radio host and celebrity judge Howard Stern said he didnt think Huntington had even discovered hip-hop during Wilsons audition, his monotone sense of humor stole the scene.
Im pretty sure I invented it there, to be honest, he quipped with a simple smile.
Although Wilsons time on the show ended during the Las Vegas round of eliminations, he is determined to create his own path to fame. The teenager talks about how his dancing started, how it feels to have fans and how weird he thought he looked on TV:
Q. How did you begin dancing, and how old were you?
A. I watched a lot of YouTube videos from TV shows like So You Can Think Dance? and Americas Best Dance Crew. I was 12, dancing in my room. I just started animation dancing about a year ago.
Q. What exactly is animation dancing?
A. Its a mixture of popping, locking, waving and tutting.
Q. Does anyone else in your family dance?
Q. What do you enjoy about dancing?
A. When Im dancing, I get to show who I am. Im kind of shy, but when I dance, you can see my goofy side. I like when people question if what theyre seeing is real or not. Its like magic.
Q. When did you first perform in front of an audience?
A. My freshman year of high school. My friends thought it was pretty cool, but no one would think I would go anywhere and do anything with it the first time they saw me.
Q. Had you auditioned for any other TV shows before Americas Got Talent?
A. No, I havent. I wasnt really an avid watcher of (Americas Got Talent). My soccer coach said, You should try out for Americas Got Talent, and when I looked into it, I found out that auditions were happening the next month. So I went to Chicago and made it; then I flew out to San Antonio what you saw on TV was actually my second audition.
Q. Explain the experience of stepping out on Americas Got Talent stage for the first time.
A. It was crazy. The crowd was like 2,500 people, which was a big difference for me. It was huge and exciting – just a big rush of adrenaline. It was hard to remember what I did out there. I knew the judges would like me and like the dancing, but they were definitely more enthusiastic than expected.
Q. Was it weird to watch yourself on the show?
A. I think I look like a goon on TV, or maybe I always have and just noticed it. (Chuckles) It was definitely weird to see my grandmother, too.
Q. Unfortunately, viewers recently found out you were eliminated during Vegas Week, cutting your journey before the live show in New York City – how did it feel?
A. I was pretty upset. After a while, I got better; Im getting offers and I have never stopped dancing.
Q. And you have fans now.
A. Definitely. I get stopped everywhere I go in town, and a little bit in Fort Wayne. On Twitter, I have almost 3,000 followers (His handle, @DancinDylan, has risen to more than 4,000 followers in the past week) – I got 1,500 followers the first night the episode aired. I actually tweet a little less now; I retweet what my fans say a lot, but Im more careful about what I say. My YouTube channel of my freestyles gets a lot of views, too.
Q. What would you have done if you had won?
A. Well, I would have a million dollars, and I would have my own show – I would have been pretty much set for a dancing career.
Q. What about college have you picked out a school, and will you continue to pursue dance?
A. Not yet but I know I want to dance and be a choreographer.
Q. What do you want people to always remember about Dancin Dylan?
A. I have no idea. Ill say that he always followed his dreams, no matter what anyone said.