Simon Cowell has judged nine seasons of “American Idol,” three seasons of the U.S. “X Factor” and 11 seasons of the U.K. “X Factor” and this might be the first time he has gotten so emotional about an audition.
The music mogul was left speechless by the powerful rendition of Jealous by Labrinth, performed by contestant Josh Daniels.
Josh, 21, told the panel that his choice of song was inspired by the loss of his best friend, who died aged 18 in a car crash in 2013. The pre-recorded scenes were filmed shortly after the death of Simon’s mother on 5 July, and the emotional lyrics clearly struck a chord with the judge.
The 55-year-old, famous for his tough façade and cutting comments, was seen rubbing away a tear during Josh’s performance. When the song came to a close and fellow judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini turned to him, he remained speechless and the Geordie star began her own tearful feedback.
“That was the most captivated I’ve been in all the auditions so far,” said Cheryl, before getting up from the panel to give the contestant a hug.
Simon then took the contestant’s song straight to the vote, without passing comment, and said briefly, “It’s three yeses”.
The TV personality was left “heartbroken” by the loss of his mum Julie Cowell, who passed away at the age of 89.
A spokesperson confirming her death said at the time: “Today our beloved mum Julie passed away. Anyone who had met her would know what a truly special and kind lady she was. We are heartbroken and will miss her terribly, but she is now at peace.”
Simon took just two days off The X Factor to grieve, before heading straight back to holding auditions to find the nation’s next pop star.
Speaking backstage at the London auditions weeks later, he said: “She had been ill for a very long time. It really happened last year and it was a tough period.”