Teen Singer’s First Song Is Cut Short, and Things Get Personal

It must be terrifying to audition for a singing competition show like “American Idol” or “The Voice.” You don’t want to end up in the first couple of episodes’ “Blooper Reel,” where they basically say, “What were they thinking coming on here?” That’s humiliating.

Then there was Christian Burrows’ performance on the British version of “The X Factor.” Burrows began singing a generic song, a John Denver song, but Cowell cut him off and asked him to sing something personal. The adolescent explained that he had written a song about a brother who died when he was two years old. The music mogul gave him a nod, and he began singing a song so moving that it moved two of the judges to tears by the end. Even Cowell appeared moved.

The song, in which Burrows lamented what never happened between the two as they grew up, rang true because it was true. It was rough. We saw Burrows’ parents crying in the waiting room, partly because they must have been thinking about how much their late son would have enjoyed watching this.

This is a young man with a promising future in music simply because he has the ability to connect with others. Cowell is most likely the most cynical man alive. People watch all of these singing competitions to hear him insult the contestants. But this revealed a different side to him. Perhaps his own fatherhood has influenced him.

I was glad that Simon gave Burrows a chance to sing his song rather than snap “Next!” and move on. We all benefited. This young man is a complete package and I wish him well for his career.