I was lying in bed one night a few months ago daydreaming about shows like American Idol, America’s Got Talent and X Factor. I was thinking that the most moving performance possible would be by a contestant who had lost a limb or two in war who would limp out on stage, share his inspiring story, and then wow the audience with a heartfelt rendition of an emotionally powerful song. I drifted off to sleep with that scene in my mind, never dreaming that it would actually happen someday.
Well, it has. Meet Emmanuel Kelly. As children in Iraq, Emmanuel and his brother Ahmed were victims of chemical warfare. The brothers were adopted by a saintly Australian woman, and Emmanuel is now pursuing his dream of becoming a singer.
After Emmanuel’s performance, he was interviewed in the video below by Today Tonight, Australia’s top current affairs program.
Following his audition, Emmanuel sang a short selection at The X Factor Boot Camp in hopes of making it through to the next round. Yep, he made it. Shocker!
In the next round, Emmanuel’s nervousness got the better of him and he forgot the words to his song.
Shockingly, Emmanuel was eliminated from the competition.
Emmanuel was lovingly welcomed back to the Grand Finale to perform with the Top 12 contestants and briefly solo on Imagine and Let It Be.
Here’s a story of Emmanuel’s August 28, 2011 audition on The X Factor Australia by Fiona Byrne of Australia’s Herald Sun.
SINGER EMMANUEL KELLY WOWS “THE X FACTOR” JUDGES
Plucky Melbourne singer Emmanuel Kelly is dreaming of a recording career after moving tough judges to tears on “The X Factor”
Emmanuel, the adopted son of Children First Foundation boss Moira Kelly, wowed Ronan Keating, Spice Girl Mel Brown, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Guy Sebastian with his heartfelt performance of the John Lennon classic Imagine on last night’s audition show.
Emmanuel and his brother Ahmed were adopted from Iraq, both suffering limb deficiencies as a result of chemical warfare.
They were abandoned at an orphanage and rescued by Ms Kelly, who is also the guardian of the once-conjoined Bangladeshi twins, Krishna and Trishna.
Emmanuel said it was “more than magic” to be on X Factor”.
“Words could not describe what I was feeling on that stage,” he said.
“When I got up and started singing, there was nothing else. Adrenalin just took over. It was just a blur.”
Emmanuel said he believes he had a gift.
“Singing is what I love doing and singing is the only thing I want to do,” he said.
“I know plenty of singers that are 50 times better than I am, it is just they chose not to follow that path. Singing is the path I want to follow and some doors have opened up now and I just want to push even more.
“I just want to sing and I want to make people happy.”
Kelly said his damaged limbs had not held him back and that he was not looking for sympathy.
“I have actually been through nothing compared to some of the other kids I have met and mum has brought out,” he said.
“I don’t want people to look at it (his performance) and go: ‘Wow that is brave.’ I want people to look at me and go, ‘Wow, he has got a really good voice’ or ‘Wow, he is going to go far in life,’ not, ‘Wow, that is brave for him to do that’.”
Emmanuel’s rendition of Imagine earned a standing ovation from the judges and packed audience.
Ronan Keating was full of praise for Emmanuel who has now moved into the next round of competition.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been moved as I was by that performance,” he said.
Emmanuel auditioned for Australia’s Got Talent last year but did not make it on to the show.
ABOUT PHIL BOLSTA
Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, is a road map for living a more peaceful, beautiful life. It’s the one book that explains how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive worldview, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to daily life.
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