Il Divo added a classical twist to the structurally sound Simon Cowell formula. The idea of having an act as powerful as The Three Tenors with boy-band looks, their talents deployed across the jewels of his ever reliable karaoke songbook, seemed a obvious move to the business savvy British television and music impresario. Over 30 million album sales later in 2014, after ten years treading the global stage, the quartet's success speaks for itself. The concept for Il Divo came to Cowell after hearing Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman singing 'Con Te Partirò' via the long-running American mafia TV drama The Sopranos. Soon Cowell was conducting an extensive worldwide search for a multinational quartet of young singers, a talent quest that lasted two full years until December 2003, when he settled upon the arranged marriage of American tenor David Miller, Swiss tenor Urs Buhler, Spanish baritone Carlos Marin with French pop singer Sébastien Izambard.
With its members capable of singing in English, Italian, Spanish and French Il Divo quickly became an international sensation with the release of 2004's self-titled debut. An album that went to number one in 13 countries, it knocked Robbie Williams off the UK chart summit prompting the former Take That singer to mischievously carp, 'So you are the four idiots who have forced me off my number one spot!' when they crossed paths at the Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason movie premier. Its most notable selection was their Spanish rendition of Toni Braxton's 'Unbreak My Heart'. 'Regresa A Mí' became a huge USA success after a career-defining appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show on April 5th 2005, while the album smashed Led Zeppelin's 25 year-old record for being the only band to achieve a US number one without a single release. Unusually they released two new albums into the competitive Christmas market of 2005, following the chestnut-toasting fireside favourites of The Christmas Collection in October with their next studio affair Ancora in November. It repeated the feat of their debut, going straight to number one in America and selling more than 150,000 copies during its first week. The album included their power duet with Céline Dion 'I Believe In You (Je Crois En Toi' (also featured on Dion's On Ne Change Pas album), a duet with George Michael on Elton John's 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' and their take on 'Unchained Melody', a long-time Cowell favourite that was also became a number one when covered by his previous charges Gareth Gates and Robson & Jerome.
In 2006 Il Divo's fourth album Siempre was released and promptly went to number one in ten international territories, further underlining the potency of their formula. This time they turned their powerful vocals onto versions of The Moody Blues' 'Nights In White Satin', Bryan Adams' 'Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman"' (translated to 'Un Regalo Que Te Dio La Vida') and, taking a tip from Westlife's book, Secret Garden's 'You Raise Me Up' (translated to 'Por Ti Seré'). They also performed the official 2006 FIFA World Cup song 'The Time Of Our Lives' with US R&B singer Toni Braxton, a single that shot its way into charts worldwide after they performed at the opening festivities in Munich on June 9th. Meanwhile their annual take from the touring circuit in 2006 was a staggering $92.5 million gross after they joined Barbra Streisand as special guests on Streisand: The Tour.
While the next year was, for the most part, one of rest and recuperation, on April 25th 2007, Il Divo performed on American Idol. For every vote cast the TV show's sponsors donated money to Charity Projects Entertainment Fund (CPEF), Save The Children and America's Second Harvest. They returned, immaculately suited and booted, with their fifth album The Promise in 2008, a set that significantly featured a higher quota of original songs including the Italian numbers 'La Promessa', 'La Luna' and the Spanish sung 'Enamorado' and 'Angelina'. While another barnstorming appearance on Oprah Winfrey's show helped their version of the old Christian hymn 'Amazing Grace' into the US top 20, there were no commercial missteps with a cover of the Charles Aznavour standard 'She' or 'L'Alba Del Mondo', the latter an Italian adaption of 'Deborah's Theme' from Sergio Leone's epic crime drama Once Upon A Time In America. In 2011 their sixth album Wicked Game was premiered by a performance of Chris Isaak's haunting title track on the semi-final of America's Got Talent. The album included covers of Roy Orbison's 'Crying', Shakespeare's Sister's 'Stay' and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's immortal Evita show tune 'Don't Cry for Me Argentina'. The latter pointed the way for their next move; shifting operations onto the Broadway stage to launch November 2014's A Musical Affair with a residency at the Marriott Marquis Theatre. The album found them joined by several star guests including Kristin Chenoweth, Heather Headley, Nicole Scherzinger and Michael Ball. Their rendition of 'Love Changes Everything' with Ball was the first time Il Divo had ever been joined by another male voice.
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