When you think of Simon & Garfunkel’s haunting and deeply moving hit “The Sound of Silence” it’s easy to hear the duo’s angelic voices ringing out. The song gives people goosebumps every time they hear it.

But when Angelo Del Vecchio took the stage at the auditions for the French version of the reality singing competition The Voice (called The Voice: la plus belle voix) in 2018, the song sounded quite different.

Source: Screencap via The Voice: la plus belle voix/YouTube

The judges’ chairs were turned around, facing away from the singer dressed in all black.

While they can’t see the singers during the blind auditions and never know what to expect, it’s safe to say they still didn’t expect THAT voice.

Source: Screencap via The Voice: la plus belle voix/YouTube

From the very first line, Del Vecchio’s version is clearly based on the wildly popular hard rock cover by the band Disturbed – one that even Paul Simon himself endorsed.

Del Vecchio’s voice is low and rough, far more rock and roll than folk.

And while we’ve heard dozens of covers of the song over the last 50 years, this one still surprised the judges.

Source: Screencap via The Voice: la plus belle voix/YouTube

The first words “Hello darkness, my old friend” set the tone for any version of the song, but the incredibly low voice of Del Vecchio was something unique.

A few lines in, the Italian singer really let loose and let his edgy rock vocals shine.

Source: Screencap via The Voice: la plus belle voix/YouTube

There’s no doubt that it’s a powerful rendition and Del Vecchio’s breathy and emotional vocals are unexpected but welcome to both the audience and judges.

In fact, everyone seems willing to rock out – ironically – to The Sound of Silence.

Source: Screencap via The Voice: la plus belle voix/YouTube

As he’s doing his thing, the judges begin discussing whether he’s worth the risk. At least one of them must push the red button to turn around their chair and claim him as a mentee so he can move on to the next round.

Through most of the performance, it seems like the singer may be out of luck.

Source: Screencap via The Voice: la plus belle voix/YouTube

But then he pushes his vocals quite a bit harder towards the end, giving it all he’s got.

Source: Screencap via The Voice: la plus belle voix/YouTube

There are some more looks of surprise from the judges and some further deliberation. So many talented singers audition for the show – does Del Vecchio truly have what it takes to be among the best?

Nervous friends wait backstage as he nails his final note, but none of the judges have turned around. They only have seconds left to decide.

Source: Screencap via The Voice: la plus belle voix/YouTube

FINALLY, he gets the go-ahead from judge Florent Pagny before the sound of silence gets very awkward.

Del Vecchio will be moving on to the next round, much to his relief, as the audience cheers him on.

Source: Screencap via The Voice: la plus belle voix/YouTube

Del Vecchio’s audition video went viral for his heady performance and now has over 2.8 million views in a little over a year since he first performed it on French television.

While he would eventually be eliminated from Season 7 of the show, Del Vecchio plans to release solo albums. But for now, he’s busy touring the world playing the part of Quasimodo in the musical version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Be sure to scroll down below to catch his performance.

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Source: The Voice: la plus belle voixThe Guardian