While no one will ever replace the late John Lennon, a contestant on America’s Got Talent has come very close with his audition on the hit reality show.
Earlier this week, Chris Kläfford surprised judges Simon Cowell, Julianne Hough, Gabrielle Union and Howie Mandel with a haunting and unique version of ‘Imagine’. The song, which was the best-selling single of Lennon’s solo career, was originally released in the ‘70s and continues to inspire people globally after all these years.
The 30-year-old aspiring singer from Sweden explained that he always loved singing, but his parents wanted him to have a normal, everyday job.
“They didn’t really listen to me,” he explained. “I never wanted to join the family business, so I just walked my own road.”
Chris explained that the music industry wasn’t easy and even though he had a passion for music, initially found it difficult to get gigs. Still, his dad – who was originally against him following a career in music – encouraged him to keep going. He said auditioning for America’s Got Talent was to make his dad proud.
With his guitar in hand, it didn’t take long for Chris to captivate the audience and judges. In fact, the audience began cheering as soon as the singer sang his first tune.
As the song progressed, audience members were spotted wiping tears away from their faces and giving the contestant a standing ovation when he hit all the right notes.
Clearly overwhelmed by the audience’s reaction to his voice, Chris broke down in tears when he finished his performance.
“This is weird,” Chris told Simon when asked how he was feeling after his audition. “This is crazy. This means everything.”
Howie said Chris “wore his heart on his sleeve” and described the audition as “amazing”, while Gabrielle said she was “blown away” by Chris’ talent.
“I felt you heart and I felt your passion,” Julianne added. “That’s what art is.”
Simon said he loved what Chris did with the song. He said: “I love people who can reinterpret a song and you did something special with it just then. It was incredible.”
Chris received four yeses and progressed through to the next stage of the competition. His audition has been viewed 9.1 million times since Wednesday, with many praising the singer for his voice.
One person on YouTube said: “The most powerful song I’ve ever heard. John is standing up and giving you one heck of an ovation. Neil Young has a beautiful interpretation of Imagine too. But not anything like this!”
Another comment read: “He brings back memories of the folk singers of the ’60s – absolutely beautiful.”
A third added: “I’m so glad people are STILL moved by a song that’s almost 50 years old. Great cover.”
Chris later took to his Facebook page to thank fans for their well-wishes.
“I don’t even know how to thank everyone for the support and nice comments/messages that you guys send me. I’m so grateful that I got the opportunity to stand on stage on the world’s biggest entertainment show, and even more grateful that I got through to the next round,” he wrote.
“The road has been long and I’ve gotten a lot of help along the way. We all come from somewhere, wanting to be something. And without each other there’s is no success.”