4-year-old Pinoy becomes Internet sensation as Mini Warbler

By Yong Chavez, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Jun 10 2011 01:49 PM | Updated as of Jun 10 2011 09:49 PM

SAN DIEGO, California - More than a million people now know Kellen Sarmiento best as the "Mini Warbler." The 4-year-old Pinoy is now a true blue Internet sensation.

"My name is Kellen and I'm the Mini Warbler," he said.

Sarmiento's mom posted a video of him performing like his idol Darren Criss, who leads the singing group The Warblers on the hit American TV show "Glee."

Criss, whose mother is Filipina, is the breakout star of the popular TV show. His signature performance of the hit song "Teenage Dream" was adorably imitated, move by move, by the preschooler "Glee" fan.

Criss loved Sarmiento's video and immediately tweeted it. His fans dubbed Kellen the "Mini Warbler" and kept reposting the link.


4-year-old Pinoy becomes Internet sensation as Mini Warbler 1


"Glee"'s official Twitter account also tweeted Sarmiento's video.


4-year-old Pinoy becomes Internet sensation as Mini Warbler 2


"That was great. We're big fans of Darren and The Warblers, so just to see that made our day," said Emily Mirador Sarmiento, mom of the Mini Warbler.

The new Internet superstar is shy during interviews, as can be seen in this short Q & A:

Q: What's your favorite show?
A: "Glee"
Q: What was the song that you sang?
A: 'Teenage Dream' by Blaine'
Q: You're in preschool?
A: I am.
Q: What do you like about school?
A: [shrugs] [everyone laughs]
Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: Soccer player.
Mike (dad): I didn't know that.
Q: Does your dad sing?
A: [nods]
Q: Do you sing better than him?
A: I sing better than him.

Once he hears The Warblers' music, though, Sarmiento performs with "Glee" without being prompted.

The four-year-old is the only child of Emily and Mark Sarmiento.

They first got an inkling of his performing bent when he started mimicking his favorites at age 2, which then included the Black Eyed Peas and the choir group Beelzebub from the TV show "The Sing Off".

"I don't know if it's in the genes, but it's in his genes for a long time. Ever since he was two. Before The Warblers, he liked the Black Eyed Peas... He's got a great memory. I wish I had it," said Emily.

Sarmiento's dance partner is his aunt, Lilian Sarmiento, who says it's the 4-year-old who frequently gives her instructions when they're dancing.

"When we're dancing to a Warbler song, he'll tell me I'm either the tall guy or Wes or David. So I play a character, with him as Blaine," said Lilian.

Emily posted the video originally just for family members who have been clamoring for a Mini Warbler video.

"It's funny because when we do have family functions or like his birthdays and they want him to perform, he won't do it. But when they're gone, it's over, he gets into his role and he does his thing," Emily said.

But when "Glee" fans discovered the video, it became a viral hit.

"It's been a lot of fun for him. It's really exciting, unexpected and overwhelming. But the response has been mostly positive," said Mark.

Because of his popularity now, Mini Warbler fans are expecting to see him on major US TV shows like "Ellen" or maybe even "Glee."

Sarmiento's parents said while it will be exciting if it happens, it all depends on Mini Warbler himself. Right now, all they want is for him to continue to have fun.

"It's up to him if he wants to go. We're not gonna pressure him to do anything," said Emily.

Sarmiento's Pinay grandma was the one who made the Mini Warbler costume. The whole family says they can't believe that their adorable little 4-year-old boy is now an Internet phenomenon.