While many have attempted to cover Leonard Cohen’s timeless “Hallelujah,” nothing compares to this performance. On The Voice France, Mennel Ibtissem turned over a judge’s chair with her exquisite rendition of the timeless anthem, and she hadn’t even finished her introduction yet.

Even before the song was over, the four judges had been won over by 22-year-old Mennel’s soul-stirring gospel and R&B rendition of the tune, and her exquisite voice had won them over. Mennel, a Muslim singer of French and Syrian descent, gave her rendition a unique twist by singing in Arabic and English, creating a veritable mashup of musical styles.

The tune of “Hallelujah” was used to set the Arabic lines from “Ya Ilahi (Oh My Lord)” by the Kuwaiti singer Muhammad Al Husayn. From its first solo piano performance, Mennel’s cover evolved into an eight-string acoustic folk instrument, whose exotic lead intertwined with the vocal melody, adding a new dimension to the sound.

When her performance aired in France, Mennel—who is of Syrian-Turkish and Moroccan-Algerian descent—made quite a sensation in the media. Fans remarked on her magnificent voice, majestic features, and eye-catching blue turban, highlighting the importance of French Muslim women’s representation in the prominent competition. You can see Mennel perform “Hallelujah” and “Say Something” by A Great Big World on America’s Got Talent; the performance is available below.

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