ELIZABETHTON — Nine-year-old Carson Peters and his parents flew back to East Tennessee on Friday after a busy and successful week that included winning a bluegrass championship in Virginia and his first nationwide television appearance on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
It was also the first time Peters had been to California and the first time he had flown on an airplane, but he used his most descriptive adjective to describe a trip to Universal Studios that his family received as an award for being on the show.
"It was awesome," Peters said of the many rides he enjoyed. On Thursday's program, it showed Leno presenting the free pass to Peters after he performed. Peters said they actually went on Wednesday because they had to fly back home on Friday.
See a video of Carson's performance at the end of this article.
Peters also was impressed with the production of the show. The skit Peters was in included two other acts that were to be judged by veteran entertainer Betty White, whom Leno said had "seen it all" in show business. But White expressed admiration and pleasure for all three acts.
"It was really neat how they do it behind the scenes," Peters said. "They rehearsed it about three times." He said a man stood in for White during the rehearsals.
On the show, Peters joked a bit and started playing his fiddle in a scratchy and amateurish way. He said that was all the producers' idea. "That was something they had in mind," Peters said.
But Peters ran with the idea and made it appear to be his own, telling jokes with Leno and saying the difference between a violin and a fiddle was that one has strings and the other has "strangs." He also did the bad fiddle playing with as much comedic effect as Jack Benny used to do, getting some comedic reactions from White.
Peters said White "is a very nice lady," Even though she was a star from a time before he was born, Peters said he knew about her. He said she told him "good job" when she gave him a hug on camera.
During his short conversation with Leno, Peters told him he had pitched a no hitter. Leno told him he might turn out to be a good ball player if he didn't fiddle around so much. Peters said he actually had pitched a no hitter for his team about two months ago during the last game of their season.
In addition to going to Universal Studios, the Peters Family also went down Hollywood Boulevard on Wednesday and saw the sights. Peters said he had not dreamed he would ever do that.
In addition to the Leno Show, the week included a trip to Galax, Va. on Monday for the renowned Old Time Fiddlers' Convention, where Peters won first place in the Youth Bluegrass Fiddle competition.
There will be a quite a change in Peters' schedule next week. He starts back to school at Providence Academy on Monday, where he is in the 4th grade. While he will be busy with his school work, he will still perform at many events around the area.
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