Susan Boyle performs moving rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy” – with an unexpected twist

When Susan Boyle first walked out onto the stage of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009, no one had high hopes.

Let’s be honest, she was frumpy and her dreams of being a Broadway star like the legendary Elaine Paige didn’t match what we were all seeing.

Screencap via Mark Thompson/YouTube Source: Screencap via Mark Thompson/YouTube

Simon Cowell was – as usual – openly skeptical.

Screencap via Mark Thompson/YouTube Source: Screencap via Mark Thompson/YouTube

But boy did she make us all eat our words!

Singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical version of Les Miserables, she stunned the world. Her audition video quickly went viral, bringing a tear to more than one eye as she proved that we’re all too quick to judge someone based on their appearance. In fact, it’s worth re-watching that old, grainy video (that now has over 25 million views – though more in other venues) because it still has the power to give a person goosebumps.

A decade later and she’s released a whopping 7 CDs and become an international superstar. But fame was not without its drawbacks and she has largely retired from performing and the constant scrutiny and anxiety it brings her.

Nevertheless, she’s left behind multiple television and concert performances for us all to enjoy, especially as she underwent a physical transformation from lonely cat lady to glam pop star (and cat lady!).

Wikimedia Commons Source: Wikimedia Commons

Four years after her rise to fame she appeared on Britain’s popular talk show “The Paul O’Grady Show,” which ran from 2004 to 2015. Her holiday season appearance was the perfect occasion to break out a Christmas classic that should be on all of our December playlists – “The Little Drummer Boy.”

Written in 1940 and first released for a popular audience in 1951, the tune has been covered by countless musicians, from Johnny Cash to Mary J. Blige.

But many agree that Boyle’s performance is the one that gives them goosebumps.

Screencap via NorCalKay/YouTube Source: Screencap via NorCalKay/YouTube

There’s also something extra special about a woman who supposedly came to her first stage audition with nothing to offer singing a song about a boy who was summoned to the Nativity of Jesus by the Magi but could not afford to bring a gift except his music.

The song was released on Boyle’s 2013 album Home for Christmas (her 5th studio album!). In the recorded version she teamed up with the vocal harmony group The Overtones, but on O’Grady’s shows her vocals were front and center but for a few backup singers to provide the trademark hum.

Screencap via NorCalKay/YouTube Source: Screencap via NorCalKay/YouTube

Boyle’s Scottish heritage is also on display in her televised performance with the unique addition of bagpipes to the tune!

While it’s great to see multiple little drummer boys, a bagpiper was certainly an unexpected twist.

Screencap via NorCalKay/YouTube Source: Screencap via NorCalKay/YouTube

Despite breaking with tradition just a bit, the performance maintains the classic melody.

“The Little Drummer Boy” used by be known by the name “Carol of the Drum” and is based on a traditional Czech carol. Even for those who celebrate Christmas without the religious overtones, it manages to figure into arguments over the top 10 all-time Christmas carols, partly for the majesty of the song and the feelings of suspense it evokes when the drummer boy’s performance takes place.

Be sure to scroll down below to see Susan Boyle’s moving rendition of “The Little Drummer Boy.”

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Source: NorCalKay via YouTube, Pop Culture Fandom Wiki