Two teens with a huge musical secret, Essex students Jonathan and Charlotte, walked onto the Britain’s Got Talent stage for their live audition, and judge Simon Cowell made a decision: this audition was going to be a flop. Little did Simon know what a tremendous shock he was in for.
The footage of the pair’s performance, which to date has garnered a staggering 117.6 million views on YouTube, has become one of the most viral audition tapes in internet history.
Greetings! This was me earlier – many different things accomplished and recorded today 😊🎼🎤 pic.twitter.com/majMFL4FgL
— Jonathan Antoine (@JonAntoine) May 19, 2019
Jonathan and Charlotte chose to sing their own rendition of “The Prayer,” but when two unassuming, shy teenagers shuffled onto the stage, absolutely nobody in the room could have guessed how powerful it would be. The show’s hosts Ant and Dec wished the young pair the “very best of luck” before ushering them onto the iconic BGT stage. Charlotte did most of the talking. “Are you shy?” an incredulous Simon asked Jonathan while the terrified teen padded from one foot to the other. Jonathan merely shrugged.
“I’ve always had problems with my size since I can remember,” Jonathan opened up to the backstage cameras. “It damaged my confidence quite a bit.” It all changed for Jonathan, 17, when he met Charlotte, 16, who became his protector from that moment on. At one point, Jonathan’s bullying got so bad that he had a nervous breakdown. It happened just three months before this very audition. “Before you make a judgment on someone you really need to get to know them,” Charlotte shared in her friend’s defense.
“I really don’t think I’d be going up on stage today if I didn’t have Charlotte by my side,” Jonathan admitted.
After just a few bars of the pair’s instrumental backing track, Jonathan lifted his microphone to his lips and let out the first words of the song. Jonathan and Charlotte are opera singers, very, very good opera singers; and in that moment, every single jaw in the auditorium hit the floor. Simon’s face was priceless. Within the first few lines of the moving duet, the entire audience were on their feet, applauding ecstatically.
The teens performed beautifully. Jonathan’s microphone shook in his hand from start to finish, but his notes were pitch perfect. It was a resounding triumph for both singers.
“Wow, wow, wow!” Simon exclaimed when the song was over, slapping the judges’ desk for emphasis. The judges’ numerous words of praise included, “You sing beautifully together, it was world class,” from Alesha Dixon, and “a pop voice and an opera voice together? It was incredible,” from David Walliams. But Simon said it best: “Charlotte I think you’re good; Jonathan, I think you’re unbelievable. Seriously. You have an outstandingly good voice.”
“You are a future star.”
However, there was a complication. “I like the fact that this works as a duo,” Simon added, “but I worry, Charlotte, that you’re going to hold him back.” However, Jonathan, summoning all of his reserves of bravery and loyalty to his singing partner, had the best response ever: “We’ve come on here as a duo,” he said, “and we’re going to stay as a duo.” Stay, they did; Jonathan and Charlotte reached the finals.
The pair stayed together after the series, recording two studio albums on Simon Cowell’s own record label, Syco, before Jonathan launched a solo career in 2014. Jonathan is the perfect example of how we should never, ever judge a book by its cover. “You’ve got to read what’s inside!” Charlotte added, sagely, and never have truer words been said.