A Star is Grown

Danyl Johnson is apparently the Next Big Thing — a humble, unknown teacher from Reading, England, who came out of nowhere to star on the British talent show “The X Factor.” You can see it all in his first audition: the technique, the joy, the quicksilver shifts in mood and expression with which he works the crowd, telling a story with his body and voice. He hits the mark: the performance is remarkable and inspiring by any measure (and unlike Joe Cocker’s version, doesn’t require subtitles).

Consider too that Danyl is, at 27, a former member of not one but three bands (one of which, Street Level, was a boy band a la the Backstreet Boys). He attended Starmaker stage school, where he now teaches, and has a background chock full of ignition (broken family; a baby sister who passed away). So are his skill circuits amazing? Absolutely. Did they come from nowhere? Absolutely not, whatever Simon Cowell might say.