Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Danyl Johnson Gets By With a Little Help From His Friends

posted by Nell Minow

Please watch this X Factor clip of Danyl Johnson singing “I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” in what the notoriously critical Simon Cowell calls the best first audition he has seen since the show began. Johnson, a 27-year-old teacher, takes a song that already has been unforgettably performed by the Beatles and Joe Cocker and makes it his own with a dazzling, supremely confident performance with indefinable but unmistakable star quality. You will want to be a part of this talented singer’s career from the beginning. He will be getting by with the help of a lot of new friends.

  • Don

    A great article for Family Values, Movie Mom?
    When are people going to wake-up to the fact that this is one of the best stage managed shows on TV, and we fall for it every year.
    When Cowell said it was the ‘best first audition’ he meant second audition. Everyone knows they are all seen at the first audition weeks before, then put through to the TV judges stage if they are either good at singing or ripe for ridicule. When this guy was shown it was made to look like he was the last to turn up and perform, like Susan Boyle on the first BGT, so that the performance is remembered longer and the unwitting public are more likely to spend their money voting. Anyone who gets their cash loosened out of them by clever already millionaires like Cowell only have themselves to blame
    Talent? …the guy does have some real stage presence or perhaps he only knows how to rock the heck out of “A Little Help From My Friends” (lol) …time will tell. We won’t mention the fact that he just might have lip-synced. Sigh.
    I’m most curious to the fact that he is in the press saying that he is bi, when most will tell you he’s 100% gay. Frankly don’t care whether he does it with Arthur or Martha….
    Danyl says he’s a teacher … everyone is impressed.
    BUT … is he a qualified school teacher, or just someone who teaches dance to kids in his spare time?
    So many unanswered questions, maybe you could answer some, before posting

  • MarjorieM

    I found this video a few days ago (searched for it on Youtube after seeing a short blurb about it somewhere.) I found myself at work on Thursday, planning to watch it again when I got home that evening, to cheer myself up!
    I am sure that all the details of his musical efforts from birth will be exhaustively researched and exploited by the media, so we will eventually find out how this AMAZING guy burst out of “nowhere.” But he MUST have had a lot of experience with audiences! I have never seen any participant on any of these shows come out and grab an audience like that. Within seconds of starting the song, he lifts up his arm and starts waving it back and forth, and the audience is already with him, waving along. He had me when he fell to his knees. Throughout the song, he flirts with the judges and sings to the audience, pointing to them as the friends whose help he needs.
    As a wanna-be rock star in my teens, I used to think “sing alongs” and other audience participation elements (think: a drunk shouting out “Sing ‘You Are My Sunshine’ as I was singing my songs and other things that were equally obscure to him) were schmaltzy outmoded embarrassing things. As the years went by, I realized that, to the contrary, one common mark of a truly superior performer is that he or she gives the audience the opportunity to connect and become part of the performance, one way or another. Danyl delivered the goods by getting the wave going and making the audience the “friends” of the song!
    What I found the most impressive about Danyl was his use of the venue and his stage presence. He used the entire stage, pacing back and forth to connect with the audience in all areas. He sat down at the front of the stage for a bit and then HOPPED up to land standing on the stage to continue the performance! At one point he used the microphone as a prop and grinned at the audience. This bespeaks a lot of experience onstage.
    His physical energy (oh to be 27 again!) was beautiful to behold. He was literally bursting with musical energy. I loved that cute little dance step he did when he sang “baby baby” after that first long-held, belted-out “…” And “baby baby” was sung and danced in 4 beats against the 3 beats of song’s meter.
    Danyl has a million-dollar voice, of course. None of his poise and charm could override the need for actual talent. But as a performer myself, I can only marvel at how totally at ease he was in that situation. Afterwards, especially while awaiting Simon Cowell’s final verdict, it was clear that Danyl was not cocky about his chances at all, and that he was quite nervous about it. But during the performance– in a large venue, with a packed crowd and four judges sitting a few feet away– it was as if he was born to it, and it was as natural as breathing.
    PS I had to renew the “captcha” before I could post this, so I have just seen the 1st response from Dan. His response contains a “sigh” also, of a different sort altogether. But I leave my “sigh” as is… Perhaps the show was edited to change the order of the performers but I am reasonably sure this was not a lip synch, and that the dancing was not computer-generated. And the gift at relating to an audience is not something that can be created out of thin air. Danyl is a rare talent.

  • MarjorieM

    Sorry, can’t edit, I said “Dan” not “Don”, no offense intended, Don. I have “Dan”yl on the brain, obviously!

  • Nell Minow

    Don, your idea of authenticity seems, well, inauthentic to me. What is authentic to me is this young man’s talent and the thrill of discovery — the audience’s discovery. Wherever he has been, he is new to us.
    If “everyone knows” that there is some initial screening process (which I imagine is documented in the show as it is in “American Idol”), then how is it anything other than straightforward? He actually tried out once before and failed to get past the initial audition. “Everyone knows” that this is not some guy who wandered in off the street without any kind of assessment. Cowell was referring to the fact that this was his first appearance on the show, his “first audition” for the judges.
    And anyone who sees this can hear that there is a pre-recorded track doing the musical and choral accompaniment. For both the Susan Boyle clip and this one, we see the people backstage who manage the initial process and how excited they are because they know before we do that he has something special. And how does that matter? How does it matter whether he is a certified teacher? Who cares who he sleeps with?
    Here’s what matters. “The guy does have some real stage presence or perhaps he only knows how to rock the heck out of ‘A Little Help From My Friends.'” Those are your words, not Cowell’s or mine. So, how is it inconsistent with family values to applaud that?

  • Nell Minow

    I loved your comment, Marjorie! Because of your experience as a musician and performer, you were able to give some specificity and insight that help me understand what it is that makes Danyl Johnson’s showmanship so powerful. Thanks!

  • Bobbi

    I too loved his audition. Regardless of rather he is a “certified” teacher,( which, by the way, doesn’t automatically mean one is a good teacher), he is a talented young man who takes great joy in performing. I was delighted to hear him sing and watch him command the stage. He, like other really gifted teachers, knows how to connect, move around the “room” and inspire the audience to listen and move with him. Whatever you do, do it with joy and passion, don’t give up. That was a powerful lesson.
    Class dismissed.

  • Nell Minow

    A great comment, Bobbi! I am so glad you mentioned the way he moves — it is a big part of what makes him such a compelling performer. There are some older clips of him on YouTube just sitting and singing and he is not nearly as at ease. His physical grace and confidence get the audience relaxed, on his side, and anticipating his next move immediately. I had the same thought you did — that teaching kids was good training for getting an audience’s attention!

  • iorek

    The most important first step to Danyl’s career will be to trade in those goofy pants for an adult pair.

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