Korea has found its next global talent show sensation in 22-year-old Sung-bong Choi. The former street kid with a weeper of a story wowed the audience on Korea's Got Talent and went on to garner tens of millions of hits on YouTube.
Choi's story is as powerful as his baratone voice:
I was left in the orphanage when I was 3, he told the judges at this first appearance, and when I was 5, I ran away after being beaten by people there. I sold gum or energy drinks on the street. I had that life for about 10 years.
Before grabbing the mike, Choi said bashfully I'm not a very good singer. Then, to everyone's surprise, a rich baratone voice came out of the small boy. The voice sounded as if it belonged to a man twice his age and build and it brought both the presenters and the audience to tears.
Though Choi allegedly spent most of his life sleeping in stairwells and public toilets, he decided he wanted to sing after seeing a performer in a nightclub where he was selling gum.
I was fascinated by the singer who sang on the stage so sincerely, Choi said.
Choi did attend an arts school around the age of 16 and graduated in 2009. It was his only schooling.
Choi had been working as a construction worker and has said he finds it unbelievable that someone like him was able to be on a show like Korea's Got Talent. Now, he claims to have a reason to live.
Choi is the favorite to win Korea's Got Talent, but even if he doesn't, one of the judges has preemptively promised to help him along with vocal training.
The finals of the show will take place on August 20.