TAMPA (FOX 13) - Comedian Steve Harvey knows New York's famed Apollo Theater well, both as a performer and host of Fox's "Showtime At The Apollo."
"This building launched my career in TV," Harvey remembered.
Over the years, big stars and amateurs went side-by-side to put their talents to the test of the Apollo audience. It isn't an easy crowd to win over.
Back in the 1990s, one of those amateurs was Amanda Bernstein Gordon of Tampa.
She was around 9-years-old at the time.
"I remember learning about the Tree of Hope that you would rub before you go on stage, for good luck. I just remember rubbing it real fast," Gordon recalled.
She says this was a first for not only Gordon, but also host Steve Harvey.
"My first night there was his first night being the host of the Apollo so I do remember him being a little bit nervous backstage when we were all back there," said Gordon.
They got through the nerves with Harvey's best weapon: humor.
"When Steve Harvey came back to see me he told me a couple questions he was going to ask me," said Gordon.
Once she hit the stage, Gordon belted out "Rockin Robin." She knew it would be a tough crowd, but she nailed it.
"It was amazing," Gordon said, smiling.
The Apollo didn't forget her. Just a few years after her first appearance, she was invited back to be part of a special best-of kids show. She was also featured in a 60th Anniversary spot for the show.
Gordon now works for an event production company. She still sings, but often it’s for her son.
"Right now I'm just kind of focusing on being a mom and having fun with my son", said Gordon.