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Injured Iraqi orphan wows X Factor judges, but was previously rejected as a contestant

Emmanuel Kelly, an Iraqi orphan whose limbs were damaged by chemical warfare, wowed Australia’s X Factor‘s judges with his performance last night, but he was, unbelievably, rejected from both Australia’s Got Talent and X Factor last year.

His audition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” which is below, resulted in a standing ovation but isn’t quite one of those now near-cliche auditions where someone who looks like an unlikely singer and has a disproportionately amazing voice. But what is surprising is that it took him this long to find his way to television because of both his story and his talent. (One of the judges said, “compared to the other people here, regardless of your story, you have a beautiful gift.”)

The Telegraph reports that he “auditioned for Australia’s Got Talent last year but did not make it on to the show,” while the AAP reports that he “auditioned for last year’s [X Factor] show but failed to make it through.”

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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