Another tear-jerking viral video: 'Korea's Got Talent' unearths new 'star'

Another tear-jerking viral video: 'Korea's Got Talent' unearths new 'star'

Orphan, former street kid and now manual laborer turns on the waterworks

Choi Sung-Bong has been dubbed "gum-selling Paul Potts" after his stunning performance in the first episode of Korea's Got Talent. Just what the world needs -- another mushy viral video of a heart-rending musical performance that proves two things: 1. Never judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a singer by his appearance and 2. Most of us are rubbish performers by comparison. 

The latest in the vein of Paul Potts, Susan Boyle, Chooka (look that one up on Google and add "Australia") comes from the first episode of "Korea's Got Talent."

The 22-year-old manual laborer, Choi Sung-Bong, prompted the three judges and the audience to weep as he gave a stunning performance of "Nella Fantasia" on Saturday night during the first episode of the Korean version of the global talent TV show franchise. 

Choi's performance can be viewed here on Korea's Got Talent's official Youtube channel

The video, which is in Korean, has already gone viral with over 2.2 million views, thanks mainly to Choi's life story (and performance) which appears more poignant than that of Boyle or Potts.

Choi told the panel of judges he was abandoned by his parents at age three, ran away from an orphanage at five after being beaten, and spent most of his life "in dark places" as he struggled to eke out a living.

He slept on stairs and in public toilets for ten years, and sold gum on the streets and in nightclubs, "living day-to-day like a dayfly."

Currently, he is a manual laborer who works an early morning shift. 

"I don't sing very well so I'm not that comfortable entering this competition," he said, "But when I sing I feel like I become a different person."

Following his performance, actress Song Yoon Ah, who is the main judge for show, wiped away tears and told Choi that she just wanted to give him a hug. Fellow judge and music director Kolleen Park said she would like to give him vocal lessons regardless of the competition's outcome. 

Even the usually manic MC Noh Hong Chul exhibited awe and avuncular pride when he met Choi offstage after the performance, while Song Yoon Ah concluded the day with fervent wishes for Choi's future happiness. 

However, running true to form, Korean netizens started digging immediately into Choi's background after the performance and soon accused Choi and the TVN network of forging Choi's credentials, or lack thereof. 

           More on CNNGo: Tell Me About It: The Madness of Korea's Online Crowds

Netizens claimed Choi falsified his background on TV by not including that he is a graduate of Daejeon Arts High School and majored in singing.

TVN representatives quickly came forward and stated  Choi had told the panel  he had graduated from the arts high school and that the segment had been edited out due to "time constraints."

Korea's Got Talent airs on TVN every Saturday at 11 p.m.

Frances Cha is a Digital Producer at CNN Travel. 


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