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Child sings “Pie Jesu,” thrills Britain’s Got Talent

Malakai after Simon Cowell hit the golden buzzer

Got Talent Global

Malakai after Simon Cowell hit the golden buzzer

Merche Crespo - published on 05/26/23

13-year-old Malakai Bayoh sang Andrew Lloyd Weber’s "Pie Jesu" and received a standing ovation from the jury and the audience.

On Britain’s Got Talent last April 16, a young boy appeared on stage, with nothing to suggest his prodigious voice.

He introduced himself as all contestants do: name, age, where he came from, and why he does what he does. In his case, he said, “My name is Malakai, I’m 13 years old, and I’m a singer from London.” Panel spokesman Simon Cowell asked him a couple more questions and the others wished him good luck. Then, Malakai Bayoh began to sing.

Prodigious voice

That’s when the magic happened. The little boy, of Sierra Leonean heritage, stood in front of the microphone. He listened to the first organ bars of his piece of music, and began to sing Pie Iesu (Pious Jesus), a piece by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

With just the first two words he provoked a look of astonishment on the faces of the judges. The audience, in stunned silence for a moment, began to cheer him with warm applause.

As Malakai continued with his emotional interpretation, the cameras focused on the reactions of the judges, the audience, and his mother and sister, who were also attending the audition.

Emotional panel

At the end, the whole audience stood up spontaneously and applauded effusively. Many cried.

The panel was no less affected. Judge Bruno Tonioli said that Malakai sang like an angel and acknowledged that he was in tears. Another judge said that she had entered a kind of trance and that listening to him was like being in heaven.

Thank you for participating

Show creator and judge Simon Cowell winked at him and assured him that there was only one word to describe his singing. Clicking on a golden buzzer, which grants a direct pass to the next phase of the contest, he said, “Golden!”

As golden confetti fell from the ceiling of the set, he approached the child to hug him warmly. He told him that his performance had been fantastic and that he had one of the best voices they had ever for someone his age. He thanked him for being on the show with a triple, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Composition of Pie Iesu

The piece chosen by Malakai is an arrangement of Pie Iesu, an excerpt from the Requiem mass by British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. It combines the Pie Iesu segment with the Agnus Dei prayer.

The renowned composer of musicals wrote the Requiem setting in memory of his father, who had died a few years earlier. The work won Webber a Grammy in 1985 for the best contemporary classical composition.

Composer of musicals and in the coronation of Charles III.

For this Webber, it was an adventure to create this piece of classical music, because he was more accustomed to composing for musical theater. To him we owe the creation of popular shows including Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats, and Phantom of the Opera.

It so happens that Lloyd Webber was also commissioned to compose an anthem for the coronation of the British King Charles III this past May 6. The title, Make a Joyful Noise, is a reference to Psalm 98.

A member of the cathedral choir

Before arriving on the set of British prime time television to perform Pie Iesu so masterfully, Malakai began singing at age 7 in the youth choir of St. George’s Cathedral (of the Catholic Church) in London.

He attends Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School and belongs to that school’s Schola Cantorum. Both his academic and musical director are very pleased and proud of Malakai’s musical career and the successes he has achieved.

Musical career

A voice as exquisite as this child’s is truly astonishing. Malakai has already performed in famous venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, where he performed Mozart’s Alleluia and Handel’s aria Lascia ch’io pianga, accompanied by the English National Opera orchestra.

Last Christmas he also performed the carol O Holy Night for Classic FM with presenter and singer Aled Jones, which have had 25 million interactions online.

He was heckled

He has also occasionally appeared in small roles in musical productions such as Macbeth, The Magic Flute, La Bohème, and Carmen.

And although his voice is almost universally acclaimed, last November during the interpretation of the role of Oberto, a boy desperately searching for his father in the opera Alcina, by Georg F. Händel, a spectator heckled him from the high seats of the Royal Opera House, shouting, “Rubbish!”

However, the rest of the audience silenced the insult with a burst of applause and bravos.

May he have many more successes and continue to thrill with his wonderful voice. We can follow him on his newly launched Instagram account  or on his website .

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