Ndlovu Youth Choir makes it to the finals of America’s Got Talent

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That performance launched them into the history books as the first African act to reach the finals of the talent show.

It was the culmination of 16 weeks of thrilling live singing that has made them a crowd favorite on season 14 of the hit television show.

They have not looked back since and have won a legion of fans around the world with their uplifting and moving performances.

Simon Cowell, the show’s executive producer and typically hard-to-impress judge, described the finale as the best he has ever seen.

“We’re so happy about how it went. And it shows that the hard work and dedication that these amazing young people put into their craft and they work pays off,” Ralf Schmitt, Ndlovu’s choir director told CNN.

Some of the acts vying for the the grand prize of $1 million and a show on the Las Vegas strip alongside the South Africans incluce singer Kodi Lee, violinist Tyler Butler-Figueroa, acrobatic dance group V. Unbeatable, opera singer Emanne Beasha, and the Detroit Youth Choir.

Win or lose, everyone agrees that the Ndlovu Youth Choir have come a long way from their village in Moutse, Limpopo, one of South Africa’s poorest regions.

Escaping poverty

Many of the choir, who are now on the cusp of global stardom, grew up without running water or electricity in their hometown.

Music was a way out of poverty for the group, says Schmitt.

“The challenges these kids face, it is devastating. Many of our kid’s parents have passed away and they have got to look after their siblings and do things on their own. So, to try and help those orphans and vulnerable children, we started a choir,” he said in an interview.
The young singers are aged between 14 and 25 and have been performing in their hometown since their choir was formed 10 years ago as a healing group to help them overcome their tough circumstances.
‘Thandi Limakola, one of the choir’s lead singers, in a video by AGT says growing up in the province is hard because they didn’t have running water and electricity.

Outpouring of love

Before AGT, Ndlovu youth choir rose to global fame after posting a cover of Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You on YouTube in 2018.

The cover has been viewed around four million times and they even filmed a music video with South African Grammy award-winning flutist, Wouter Kellerman.

The attention helped them land an audition with AGT, and since then the choir has stolen the show.

There is also an outpouring of love from South Africans and the rest of the world on social media for the choir using the hashtag #NdlovuYouthChoir

Schmitt says regardless of who eventually wins the competition, he is proud of the Ndlovu youth choir.

“I couldn’t be prouder of these young people who just went on the world’s biggest stage, which Simon Cowell said was the best phenomena he’s ever seen,” he told CNN.

Read more at CNN.com