A Jews Got Talent contest in Radlett ended on a “Susan Boyle moment” as a judging panel including Ronan Keating chose a blind 17-year-old singer and her Jewish music teacher as the winners.
In an event also featuring a magician, opera singer and a rock band, it was Alexis Ganias, originally from the Philippines, and Natalie Austin who were crowned winners with a performance of Make A Wish, which was penned by Mrs Austin.
Keating was joined on the judging panel by music producer Stuart Epps, who has worked with Elton John and Oasis, comedian Allan Stewart, former Olympic swimmer Mark Foster and impressionist Francine Lewis.
The Hebrew Order of David sold out the 300-seater Radlett Centre for the show, which raised £7,000 for Max’s Foundation.
Established in memory of 10-year-old Max Schiller, who died in 2015 from an undetected heart defect, it supports research at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Mrs Austin, 38, told the JC that she could not have thought of anyone better to sing her song than Ms Ganias, whose emotion “brings tears to my eyes”.
The Radlett United congregant added: “Jews Got Talent was an amazing evening and winning was the icing on the cake.
She also had the opportunity to meet the “gorgeous” Ronan Keating. Mr Epps, meanwhile, had expressed an interest in collaborating in the future.
Stage manager Shelley Lenz said she was taken aback by Ms Ganias’s “beautiful voice. She was a really incredible singer and it was a lovely story.”
Contest organiser and compere Stuart Stepsky said Keating and his fellow judges had taken “a real interest in the performances. He was supposed to leave at half-time because he had to be up at 4am the next day to host his radio show. But he ended up staying all night.”