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Those slick dance moves evolved over decades of practice. "Blake was doing the moonwalk at 5 years old," says his mom, Dinah. He was making his own videos then, too. "I have a tape of me singing 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,' " says Lewis, 25 (with Santa in Seattle in 1984). He might have Mr. Claus to thank for his trademark beatboxing: "I always wanted to be a drummer (but) I never got any drums!"
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"Gina was a fish," says her mom, Nancy, of her 3-year-old daughter (getting ready for a dip at her aunt's Frankfurt, Ill., house). "I could never get her out of the pool. That was the last time she ever wore floaties." Indeed, Glocksen, 22, was all about playing grown-up. "I'm the youngest of three girls and I lived how my sisters did," she says. "I was learning from them."
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Even at age 3, Malakar, now 17, had musical tastes as eclectic as his Idol hairstyles. "He and his sister Shyamali ran around the house singing Sesame Street and Disney movie songs," says his mom, Jillian Blyth. Or, "he'd come out with some obscure classic song. As he was interested in those timeless genres of music, I often wondered if he was a reincarnation of Fred Astaire!"
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Would you believe this vocal powerhouse once had something in common with Milli Vanilli? "People would let me in choirs but ask me to lip-synch!" says the singer, 29 (in a childhood portrait). "I was actually tone deaf until after seventh grade. I had charisma, but they didn't want me to sing out loud." All that changed, she says, with divine intervention: "I just prayed. I know that me without God is just tone deaf!"
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As a kid, 28-year-old Sligh (pictured at age 2) composed his own soundtracks. "Everything he did, he accompanied with his own background music: songs he knew, car noises, plane noises," says his mother, Susan. He was such a noisy kid that his grandmother likely had no trouble locating him in her tub during a game of hide-and-seek in Springfield, Tenn. Says Mom: "The only time he was ever quiet was when he was sleeping."
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Scarnato was already a serious gymnast by age 8. She practiced nearly three hours daily with her San Antonio squad before shoulder injuries ended her career seven years later. "Haley (who's now 24) had a beautiful handstand on the floor and balance beam," says her father, Tony. "She really enjoyed the competitions."
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Long before the Justin Timberlake comparisons, "Chris was a big Boyz II Men and Vanilla Ice fan," says his dad, Danny. "He was always entertaining . . . always dancing." Or mugging for his audience, whether showing off his loot as a preschooler in Colorado Springs (pictured) or playing soccer. Adds his father: "He always liked to be the center of attention."
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When Stacey, 29, was an infant, recalls his father, Gary, "I would hum a note and Phil would hum the same note along with me. He was (matching) various pitches long before he could talk." By elementary school in Hamilton, Ohio, the future U.S. naval officer (pictured in second grade) was playing the trumpet and by middle school, he was in a music club called – appropriately enough – the Fairfield Patriots.
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"Lakisha (pictured at age 4) always wanted to perform and dress up as different characters," says her mother, Beverly Jefferson. "And she loved school." Though story time was a thrill, Jones wasn't keen on one classroom activity: "She never wanted to nap," says Mom. Jones, 27, still doesn't sleep much: Thanks to the time difference between L.A. and her native Michigan, Jones makes sure to call her daughter Brionne, 4, "at 3:30 every morning."