When the world first heard unforgettable operatic Britain’s Got Talent duo ‘Jonathan and Charlotte’

9 June 2021, 14:03

Jonathan & Charlotte
Jonathan & Charlotte. Picture: YouTube / Britain's Got Talent

By Kyle Macdonald

It’s almost 10 years since we first heard the unforgettable duo. Watch their remarkable debut as we feel our hearts leaping all over again.

Watch the moment opera and pop voices united to stun Britain’s Got Talent judges and audiences.

Singing ‘The Prayer’, school-aged vocal duo Jonathan & Charlotte from Essex, UK embarked on a journey that’s now another chapter of Got Talent folklore.

In 2012, at the series’ first-round audition, 16-year-old Charlotte Jaconelli was dressed smartly in a striking blazer, while long-haired, 17-year-old Jonathan Antoine wore a brown Jimi Hendrix T-shirt and baggy jeans. It’s fair to say they looked an unlikely operatic pairing. But that’s the sort of thing Got Talent moments are made of.

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“Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse,” said Simon Cowell as they walked on stage, in his typically disparaging tone. But boy, was he wrong.

For their one chance in the spotlight, the duo chose to sing ‘The Prayer’, originally made famous by another opera-pop combination, Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. The piece begins with strong unison lines, Jonathan’s operatic tenor sound blending magically with Charlotte’s more focused pop voice.

Jonathan and Charlotte sing at Britain's Got Talent 2012

The arrangement gave ample opportunity for the tenor to showcase the incredible tone of his full voice.  Of course, there were nerves and a few fluffed notes, but this was a time when the magic of the combination of voices, and passion, rose above all.

After a few seconds, the crowd were on their feet. “Oh my God,” exclaimed Cowell. “A pop voice and an opera voice together, it was incredible,” remarked fellow judge David Walliams. We also love the classiness of Jonathan, when posed with a very awkward question about the duo’s musicality.

Jonathan and Charlotte made it to the final that season, where they reprised this arrangement. They eventually placed second, but the following day secured a £1 million recording contract. Their debut album Together, was released later that year.

After tours, an ITV documentary, and a second album, the duo split amicably, as they were both offered solo record deals. Jonathan’s solo albums Tenore and Believe were both chart-toppers. His most recent album, Going the Distance, was released last year.

Watch their performance in full below.

Opera duo Charlotte & Jonathan - Britain's Got Talent 2012 audition - UK version