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81-year-old 'dancing machine' about to become a star

Posted at 5:00 PM, Jul 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-26 19:40:54-04

BOCA RATON, Fla.--An 81-year-old man is proving age is just a number. His performance on NBC’s show “Little Big Shots: Forever Young,” shows the dance moves he’s been rocking for decades.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 8 p.m. on NewsChannel 5, Tommy Sylvester’s segment airs.

With almost any genre of music from any decade, Sylvester starts moving.  The talents of Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars drive the beat through his veins.

“They have the in-the-ear, the body goes type of thing.  That's why I love them.  I can't sit still when they're on, it's unbelievable.  I could be out here, moving around, jumping, tapping my feet or something,” he said.

Sylvester has been dancing since he was a teenager.  The moves captured the heart of his wife 57 years ago because they reminded her Elvis.  To this day, he’s stayed in shape by dancing and swimming.

He’s worn socks since the days of the sock hop, finding they would let him slide across the floor without injury.  He stuck with the socks.

While the family has been well aware of his talents, Sylvester’s grandson decided to show the world on YouTube.  He posted a video of Sylvester dancing in his signature socks.

A week later, his grandson asked if he’d look at the YouTube views.

“He said, did you check it? Well, I didn't know I had to check it. I didn't know anything about YouTube,” he laughed.

There were a total of four views.  

“So I get on and see my thing, and I’m looking... and four people.  One, two, three, four people - so I said, ‘what?’ so I look at all the ones on the side, they have all these millions of hits,” he laughed.

A quarter of his viewing audience, one person, happened to be a casting director for a show called “Little Big Shots: Forever Young” on NBC.  The person asked Sylvester to contact them about a potential appearance on the show.

In the performance, Sylvester says he was a nervous wreck, his mind went blank.

“I was behind the four girls, and as soon as they parted, and I had to throw this hat into the audience, complete blank!” he said.

The cheering crowd, however, was powerful and emotional for Sylvester, who said he never expected that type of positive reaction.