Edinburg Teen Performs On ‘Ellen’ Show

Posted: April 1, 2014

John-Robert Rimel (second from right) poses with friends Monday after watching “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” at the Woodstock Hampton Inn. Rimel was featured on the show for his singing talent. (Photos by Jason Lenhart)
John-Robert Rimel performs for a few friends Monday after gathering to watch “The Ellen DeGeneres Show“ at the Woodstock Hampton Inn.
Friends and family of watch John-Robert Rimel perform on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on a big screen TV Monday at the Woodstock Hampton Inn.

WOODSTOCK — John-Robert Rimel used to be a local sensation — it’s hard not to be impressed by a 13-year-old who can sing like he can — but he’s got a much bigger following now that he’s been a veteran performer of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

As an eighth-grader at Peter Muhlenberg Middle School in Woodstock, being on national television is big not just for the Edinburg teen, but for the whole community. Dozens of his friends and family members gathered Monday afternoon at the Hampton Inn in Woodstock to watch his performance on a big screen as it aired on television to viewers across the country.

He sang Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road” for the show, which is what landed him the “Ellen” gig in the first place. Someone at the show saw a YouTube video of him singing the song (you can find it at johnrobertrimel.com), and he was invited to perform it on national television.

“It was really exciting, but I didn’t know what the finished product would look like,” John-Robert said after he saw the clip of his performance for the first time. “I was really nervous for that, more than anything.”

He and his parents, Bob and Michelle Rimel, said they were pleased with the outcome — although John-Robert admitted it was weird to see himself on TV. Michelle Rimel cried when she saw the segment on the show, which was pre-recorded in Los Angeles.

“I was bawling,” she said. “You know, you just …  can’t fathom it until you see something like that.”

After his performance, DeGeneres praised John-Robert profusely.

“You crushed it, you crushed it,” she said on the show. “That was fantastic. It was beautiful. …  You’re amazing. All right, I think we all feel like we just watched somebody start his career. You’re amazing.”

It’s not far-fetched to think the teen will have a long line of record companies knocking on his door, offering contracts because of his national debut. The Rimels say they’re not in a rush to get their son a deal; they’re waiting for the right person at the right time.

“His mother and I are behind him 100 percent and we’re going to be with him the whole time, never let him stray,” Bob Rimel said.

Aside from the praise John-Robert received from DeGeneres, it sounds like he’s got another big star on his side, too. Lindsay Lohan was another guest at the show that day, and he got to meet her briefly.

“I said I was a big fan, and she goes, ‘Oh, my God, you’re adorable!’” he said. 

John-Robert couldn’t say enough about how generous DeGeneres was and how much he enjoyed being on the show. He absolutely would do it again, he said.

He didn’t leave Los Angeles empty-handed, either. He received a $5,000 gift card to Guitar Center and a new keyboard. He doesn’t know how to play the piano yet, but because of its similarities to the guitar, he said he thinks he should be able to learn fairly easily.

John-Robert sings in the Shenandoah Jamboree at Shenandoah Caverns in Quicksburg on the first Saturday of every month, including this weekend. His segment on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” can be found at www.ellentv.com.

Contact Kassondra Cloos at 574-6290 or kcloos@dnronline.com

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