Belfast Telegraph

Sunday Life

Cowell's Div-ine record-breakers

Lock up your mothers, daughters and girlfriends, European lotharios Il Divo are back in town.

Simon Cowell's protégés return to the Odyssey Arena on June 26 and we're sure that it's a date many Ulster women have pencilled into their diaries already.

Since their inception in 2004, Il Divo have been breaking hearts and breaking records across the world. Their band name is Italian for " divine male performer" and it couldn't be more apt.

The idea to create Il Divo came to Simon Cowell after listening to Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman's rendition of Con Te Partiro. Aware of the public's new-found thirst for all things operatic after the success of G4, he formed a multinational group of singers to sound like the Three Tenors and look like Armani models.

Spanish singer Carlos Marin, American David Miller, Swiss tenor Urs Buhler and French pop singer Sebastien Izambard joined forces after a worldwide audition process that lasted two years.

The band sing in five different languages - English, Spanish, Italian, French and Latin - and have been something of a phenomenon with the record-buying public.

So far, Il Divo have notched up 26 number one chart positions internationally, sold more than 12m records and received an impressive 104 gold and platinum awards. Last year alone they performed a sell-out 86-date tour, played 20 dates with Barbara Steisand and have charmed the world with their romantic ballads and powerful voices.

Their latest album Siempre is apparently so good it's even inspired TV's Mr Nasty to break the habit of a lifetime and bestow platitudes on the four pretty boys by saying: "There's no question in my mind that this is their finest record to date."

And it looks like Cowell was right once again, as only three weeks after its release in November 2006 it topped the United World chart above acts like the Beatles, U2 and Eminem, having sold a whopping 472 000 copies. They've also been entered into the Guinness Book of Records as the Most Multinational UK number one album group and they've even had a star named after them in the Ursa Major constellation.

Speaking recently about the impending UK tour, Il Divo's David Miller said: " We're incredibly proud of the new album; we're branching out a little, but it's still the Il Divo sound. When we return to the UK we'll be performing tracks like Nights in White Satin, Caruso and a great original La Vida Sin Amor as part of a whole new show.

"Audiences will definitely hear a real Latin feel, it's a bit more up-tempo and a lot of fun. For us performing live is what it's all about!"

Although the pop/opera crossover mightn't be an original idea (G4, Sarah Brightman and Charlotte Church have all had a bash at mainstream success) Il Divo have definitely been the most successful.

It's Cowell's cunning mix of talented singers who are easy on the eye that has helped them conquer the hearts of fans and the charts of nations with ease. The music mightn't be everyone's cup of tea, but it looks like there are plenty of fans out there who still appreciate a bit of good old fashioned romance.

? Il Divo play the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Tuesday, June 26. Tickets are £44 and available from all Ticketmaster outlets.

Belfast Telegraph

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