11-year-old guitarist brings literal shred fireworks and Marty McFly-flavored tapping to Britain's Got Talent stage

11-year-old Harry Churchill wields an Epiphone Les Paul laden with sparklers on the stage of Britain's Got Talent
(Image credit: Britain's Got Talent)

Last month, 11-year-old Britain's Got Talent contestant Harry Churchill captivated his studio audience, and the rest of the world, with a phenomenal medley of Queen classics that got an enthusiastic nod of approval from no less than Brian May himself.

Churchill's showmanship and skill – he cleanly executed some behind-the-head shredding at one point – earned him a unanimous vote onto the next round of the competition, and even some kind words from the notoriously picky Simon Cowell.

Perhaps the one downside of Churchill's viral performance was that it'd be tough for him to match later on in the competition. But boy did he ever match it in the recent Britain's Got Talent semifinal, and then some.

Channeling his inner Ace Frehley, Churchill highlighted his rendition of AC/DC's none-more-classic Back in Black by shooting fireworks out of the headstock of his trusty Epiphone Les Paul

Kids, for legal reasons, please do not try this at home. 

Elsewhere in his performance – which, unlike his turn in the previous round, was aided by a live backing band – Churchill blended the worlds of '50s and '80s rock together with some Johnny B. Goode á la Back to the Future

After nailing the "duck walk" made famous by the song's author, electric guitar pioneer Chuck Berry, Churchill spiced up the Eisenhower-era touchstone with some well-executed tapping, getting a much better reaction from his audience than the time-traveling Marty McFly got from his when getting his shred on in his version of Johnny B. Goode from the classic '80s film.

Sadly, though his performance earned further praise – and a couple more votes – from the show's judges, Churchill missed qualifying for Britain's Got Talent's final round by a hair, and was eliminated from the competition.

If we had to bet, though, this won't be the last time we hear from this talented young guitarist. Is that a signature Gibson Les Paul we see in the distant horizon?

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.