The World's Most Talented Kids
For the finale of the yearlong search, some of the most exciting young performers on the planet are taking the Oprah Show stage. Oprah's even invited Jordan, a talented 10-year-old she met this year, to co-host the show.
George started dancing when he was only 6 years old. When his single mother could no longer afford to pay for his dance classes, he took his break-dance moves to the streets to earn the tuition for his lessons. He worked on his craft nonstop, earning enough money to pay for classes and help support his mom and siblings. "If I didn't work hard, if I was lazy, if I only did an hour instead of three or four, you could tell because that money would just not even be half as much," he says. "That's when I realized the more effort I put into it, the more money I'd get."
In 2008, George earned millions of viewers' votes and won the talent search, bringing home the $150,000 grand prize. "I haven't touched a penny of it," he says. "I said to my mom I'd pay her mortgage off on the house, but she won't let me."
George's performing his victory dance—complete with an onstage rain shower—to a "Singin' in the Rain" remix.
Is there special girl in George's life? Only one, he says. "My mom's the first."
George says he was teased for dancing when he was young. "[For] every boy who dances, it happens at one point," he says. "But I just carried on. I mean, they were hanging outside [on] the streets, and I was in a dance studio with 25 girls!"
Nora is making her Oprah Show debut, singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Nora's hoping to follow in some very big footsteps. "Celine Dion is my idol. When I heard her sing 'My Heart Will Go On,' I just said, 'She's the one,'" she says. "Also Beyoncé because she can act, she can sing, and she can dance. She can do everything."
Watch Lang Lang, Charlie, Derek and Anna perform Rachmaninov's "Waltz for Six Hands."
Derek, Charlie and Anna all say they are thrilled to have been chosen as Lang Lang's scholars. "It's not only that he's a great pianist, but he also uses playing piano to help society and the world, and he's one of my idols," Derek says. "I want to play like him."
Charlie says there is one thing he doesn't love about his piano gift. "I don't like practicing," he says. Lang Lang says that's perfectly normal. "Unfortunately, we need to sacrifice by practicing hard," he says. "But sometimes we also gain good feelings from music as well."
At 13, Noah says he still plays the piano, but between acting and school he doesn't have much time for practicing. Noah plans to graduate high school at age 15. "My friends love to tease me about the fact that I won't be able to drive until I'm a sophomore in college," he says.
The one downside of being so ahead of his time might be his dating pool. "If I want to date a girl in my own class, they're 16 years old," he says. "There's a little bit of an age difference. But I still do all right."
The upcoming year doesn't look too bad for Charice either. She recently signed a recording contract with Warner Records, and her international debut album will be released in late 2009. Plus, she's landed her first film role in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.
Watch Charice sing "Note to God"
Music superstar David Foster produced "Note to God." He says watching Charice sing reminds him of when her first saw Celine Dion perform at only 18 years old. "In my world, this only happens two or three times probably in my lifetime," he says. "[Charice] doesn't crack under the pressure. That's so important. The more you lay on her, the greater she becomes, which is just amazing."
She's met some big-name stars in the past year, but there's still one guy Charice would love to see face-to-face. "I want to meet Justin Timberlake," she says. "I want to try some fast songs and dance moves because I really love to dance also."
Charice says she isn't dating anyone right now, but she does have a crush. "It's Josh Groban," she says. "I was with him last month, and I was like, 'That's Josh Groban!'"
Jordan's favorite musician right now is Taylor Swift, she says. "The words [of her songs] are actually really true, and she plays the guitar wonderfully, and she's a beautiful singer."
Jordan is shocked, but she's even more surprised when Taylor herself presents her with the new instrument. "Oh my God," Jordan says. "Thank you!"
The surprises aren't over! "Jordan, we're going to give you an assignment to go interview Taylor while she's on tour," Oprah says. "Then, this fall, we're going to play that interview, and she's going to come on and she's going to perform on The Oprah Show."
Taylor's only 19-years-old, so she knows a thing or two about being young and talented. "I think that the most important thing is to be different enough where you stand out. The only place that being like everybody else is cool is junior high," she says. "Also, be good to people—every single person that you come in contact with. My heroes are great musicians, but more than that they're great people."
Meet more small wonders.
Oprah presents the world's smartest kids.