Before launching into his own rendition of Elton John’s Rocket Man, this X Factor contestant tugged at the nation’s heartstrings, bravely sharing his tale of parental heartbreak.
“This is rather personal, but I have three children who I haven’t seen for a very long time,” began 41-year-old Queenslander Justin Standley on last night’s episode.
“I was with a woman when I was very young – we had three children. There was so much tension. I ended up leaving that relationship… and she broke off all contact. It’s made it impossible to find them.
“Very soon after that was when I realised that I’m gay. And that instilled in me a belief that maybe I didn’t deserve a connection with my children.”
He told the judges: “I know this is crazy, but I thought if I got over my nerves and my shyness, came up here and sang well enough, then perhaps they would see me on TV and feel proud of their dad.”
He says he hasn’t seen his children for twelve years, but thinks about them every day.
“All I really want to say to them is that I’ve always loved them.”
Take a look at Standley’s X Factor audition on the clip below.
So it was a resounding “yes!” from all four judges. And following Standley’s audition, support for him flooded into the show’s official Facebook page, where a photo of him received over 10,000 ‘likes’, along with hundreds of messages like this one:
“I hope you find your children. The power of music can move mountains, let’s hope your children see it.”
The X Factor continues each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30pm on 7.