For 12-year-old Michael Merlino, his dream has always been to sing with Italian classical tenor Andrea Bocelli.
When the Dominican boy found out his idol was going to perform at Altos de Chavon in La Romana, Dominican Republic, he began a social media quest to fulfill his dream.
A cellphone video of Merlino singing at the beach quickly went viral on Facebook with more than 13 million views, in hopes of getting the attention of the famous singer.
Twenty years after Selena's murder, fans remember 'The Queen of Tejano'
A look at the Passion of Christ throughout Latin america
Best pix of the week
Top fashion trends for fall 2015
Can Latino audiences help revive the opera scene?
Uruguayan Ballet Dancer Fulfills Her Dream
Opera houses in the U.S., struggling for survival, sing to Latino audiences
Mexican Cartel Money Laundering Operations In L.A.'s Fashion District Raided
The tween got the attention of local media and had fans calling for Bocelli’s concert organizers to give him a chance.
His dream finally came true this past weekend.
On Saturday, to a packed crowd at the Altos de Chavon Amphitheater, Merlino took the stage with Bocelli to perform his song “Amapola.”
The talented Merlino killed it on stage, carrying himself with poise.
In a video posted on Facebook after the concert, Merlino said he was worried before hitting the stage that people would not be impressed with his singing.
“But when I started singing and people started clapping (his worries went away),” he said.
At one point in the performance, Bocelli whispered something to Merlino, which he said were words of encouragement.
“He said I was doing a great job, and then kept whispering the words to me – he thought I was going to forget them,” Merlino said in a second video on Facebook.