US legends R.E.M. hail ‘powerful and poignant’ performance by Irish priest

Michael Stipe and Fr Ray Kelly. Photo copyright David Shankbone CC3

Legendary American band R.E.M. have heaped praise on Irish priest Fr Ray Kelly after he performed one of their most loved songs on Britain’s Got Talent.

Father Kelly wowed the audience with his rendition of the song ‘Everybody Hurts’ and judge Simon Cowell even remarked that it was one of his favourite ever auditions.

The performance caught the attention of R.E.M. who have tweeted their approval.

Michael Stipe and Fr Ray Kelly. Photo copyright David Shankbone CC3
A tweet from R.E.M. HQ read: “Powerful and poignant rendition of “Everybody Hurts” by Fr. Ray Kelly. Bravo!”

The song was released in 1992 and came from R.E.M.’s classic album ‘Automatic for the People’. It was a worldwide hit, reaching number one in the charts in countries such as Ireland and the UK.

Fr Kelly said that he chose to perform the song because it was close to his heart as he’s seen a lot of pain, joy and happiness in his work as a priest.

The performance has earned him a place in the next round of the competition and he is now being tipped to reach the final.

After the performance, judge Amanda Holden said that he had the ‘whole congregation behind him’.

Cowell told him: “I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I’m going to tell you something: this is one of my favourite ever auditions.”

Father Kelly had previously come to the public’s attention in 2014 after a video of him singing at Chris and Leah O’Kane’s wedding went viral.

Take a look at Fr Kelly performing Everybody Hurts on Britain’s Got Talent

Here is the original from American superstars R.E.M.

Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling