Posted on April 10, 2010 at 4:25 PM
Sunday, Apr 11 at 8:05 AM
(CBS News) - He's everything Whitney Houston is not -- Taiwanese, male, chubby and unknown -- but Lin Yu-chun is being likened to the pop diva after wowing a talent show with his rendition of one of her most popular songs.
Lin, a competitor on popular singing show "Super Star Avenue", floored the judges this week with his pitch-perfect rendition of Houston's "I Will Always Love You", taken from her film "The Bodyguard" that also starred Kevin Costner.
A video clip of his singing on Youtube attracted millions of hits within 48 hours. In English, Lin tells Reuters how he feels about his instant fame.
"Unbelievable, and it's just like a dream. I was just a normal chubby boy yesterday, and now I become someone all over the world looking at. I really really appreciate all the support from my family, and my friends, especially the TV production team," said Lin.
The 24-year-old, who wears a bow tie and sports a bowl haircut, is also being touted by many bloggers as this year's Susan Boyle, the best-selling artist who unexpectedly became a musical superstar after her show-stopping performance on the "Britain's Got Talent" TV program.
Like Boyle, Lin has become an overnight Internet sensation, with videos of his performance retrieved by thousands of people. He is also tipped to take home the Taiwan talent show's top prize of $1 million.
"Actually, the most important reason was that I saw Paul Potts and Susan Boyle, my look is similar to them in the way that we're not glamorous like others, but they conquered everyone with their voices. They gave me a lot of courage, that's why I stepped up the stage and gave myself the challenge," said Lin.
Boyle, 48, was unknown before her appearance on the talent show last April, but her debut album "I Dreamed A Dream" was crowned Britain's biggest selling record of 2009 along with Lady Gaga's "Poker Face".
"I Will Always Love You" was written by U.S. singer Dolly Parton in 1973, who released it a year later as a single. Houston's 1992 version become one of the best-selling singles of all time.
Houston, one of the top selling U.S. female vocalists of all time, launched a comeback last year after battling drug addiction and released "I Look To You," her first studio album in seven years that topped the U.S. and other charts.
But her performance during her "Nothing but Love" world tour in Australia was panned by some critics and some fans walked out, complaining she was off key, out of breath and looked exhausted.
"I think Whitney Houston is great, she's always the goddess in my mind. Her songs still bring me a lot of inspiration. I hope she can soon recover, and I really look forward to hearing her lively voice again," said Lin, a long-time Houston fan.
Lin hopes to release his first album by the end of this year to reach international fans, though no solid timetable yet, said Lin's agent. He is also invited to appear on TV shows in the United States, Japan, and Korea.