Residents cheer ‘Idol’ contestant who performed at local restaurant

Local community members are avidly watching “American Idol” this season hoping that a 16-year-old co

Local community members are avidly watching “American Idol” this season hoping that a 16-year-old country singer from Pennsylvania will win.

Aaron Kelly performed at Parillo’s Armory Grill on New Year’s Eve from the time he was 12 years old until he was 14, according to owner Jackie Parillo.

“He was like a country rock star,” Parillo said. “He started walking through the dining room. He was so adorable with his little cowboy boots, and he is such a nice kid.”

Kelly connected with Ray Sylvain of Ballston Spa, whose vacation home in St. Cloud, Fla., was near Kelly’s grandparents. Ray and his wife, Joanne Sylvain, first heard Kelly sing when he was about 9 years old at the Osceola Flea and Farmers’ Market and, being entertainers themselves, began performing with him.

Ray Sylvain is close with Dominick Megna and asked to include Kelly in their New Year’s Eve performance at Parillo’s.

“He was a terrific young talent,” Megna said. “He was just 12 years old and he stole the crowd. We were impressed.”

Megna, who owns Dubonnet barber shop in Amsterdam and has an Italian radio show on WVTL, said he hasn’t seen Kelly perform on “American Idol” yet but hopes to catch the show tonight, when the male contestants perform.

Parillo’s Armory Grill is hosting a viewing party at 7 this evening to root for Kelly. “American Idol” will be shown on the televisions throughout the restaurant, Parillo said.

The Armory Grill was also open Tuesday night, a night the restaurant is typically closed, to watch the female contestants perform on “American Idol.”

“Everyone is all pumped up for it,” she said.

Parillo said people keep calling her asking if the Kelly on “Idol” is the same musician they saw performing at the New Year’s Eve party at the Armory Grill.

“People are like, ‘We know that kid, we bought his CD,’ ” she said.

Parillo said Kelly was one of the best performers she has had at the restaurant, which typically books local acoustic musicians and singers like Megna, who performs mostly Frank Sinatra and other songs from the 1950s and 1960s.

Joanne Sylvain said Kelly is “really a great kid. He has great manners. It’s so weird to see that. He’s always saying ‘yes ma’am’ and ‘yes sir.’ ”

Kelly’s grandparents had “American Idol” parties every week at their house, which the Sylvains said they attended, but since his grandparents left to support Kelly in Hollywood this week, the Sylvains are hosting the parties at their house.

Sylvain said she thinks Kelly will do “really well” in the competition because he is “really an awesome singer and I think people will see that.

“We hope everyone votes for him, whether you know him or not,” she said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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