Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Exclusive! The View's singing sensation, Von Smith

Here’s a wild story. Last summer, we were in Kansas City shooting Basketball Man, when we stopped in to sample the local culture at the Isle of Capri casino on the river. Tucked away, performing upstairs in a tiny lounge, was a young man fronting a trio of older musicians. The kid sang rhythm & blues and jazz standards. He had a very youthful, upper-register sound. He was a good singer, we thought. Really good. Too good for the room. We snapped a few pictures in case he wound up on American Idol, which is where it sounded like he belonged.

He didn’t show up on Idol, and after he didn't we deleted some of the photos! But this morning, he showed up on The View. It turns out he’s become a YouTube sensation because of a clip showing him singing a girl’s song: “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”-- the one from Dreamgirls that got Jennifer Hudson her Oscar®.

Von Lee Smith, age 20, made quite an impression in his first national TV appearance this morning. The audience went nuts and judging by the way Rosie O'Donnell was all over him, he seems to be on his way to stardom.

But we knew him when, as these photos attest…

All photos © TB.com

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