Once a Limbless Orphan in a Shoebox, Singer Brings Audience to TearsMadeline Holler
Even if you’re not a fan of shows like American Idol and its X Factor spin-offs (guilty), you can’t help but be moved by this audition in Australia (guilty again!).
It features Emmanuel Kelly, a guy with an astounding life story, not the least of which includes the fact that he can’t tell judges exactly how old he is, since he isn’t sure himself. The handsome Kelly and his equally handsome brother were found in a shoebox in Iraq back in the 1990s, and taken to an orphanage.
Their mother, Moira Kelly, visited the orphanage months later. Her appearance, Kelly tells the cameras, “was like looking at an angel.” Eventually, she took the two boys back to Australia for surgeries. She couldn’t help but fall in love with them and eventually adopted the pair. Kelly says his mom is his hero and you can kind of tell the boys are her heroes too. Which is way sweet.
I don’t want to give away the big reveal toward the beginning of the video. But I will tell you that he leaves the judges in tears when he sings “Imagine.” The audience loves him. Yoko Ono would eventually tweet that John Lennon would have been proud of his performance.
A unanimous vote from the judges advanced Kelly to the competition. However, to the disappointment of countless viewers he was eliminated just two weeks later.