Simon Cowell has built his career on being a snide, pompous critic who is not afraid to tell it like it is. While he has softened up a lot in recent years, especially since the passing of his mother to cancer, he still is the hardest and most callous judge on every talent program he graces with his presence.
But back in 2010, when Simon was still the world’s harshest TV judge, 80-year-old Janey Cutler decided it was time to put her singing voice to the test. She had been told all her life that she was a good singer, but never took anyone’s word for it.
Instead of taking the easy route, this mother of seven, grandmother of thirteen, and great-grandmother of four took the stage on Britain’s Got Talent and auditioned in front of Simon Cowell. Does the cynic boo her off the stage or applaud her for a jog well done?
Check out the video below to see this iconic talent audition that has been seen more than 20 million times since it was published on YouTube.
After a quick introduction to this remarkable woman, the hosts of Britain’s Got Talent put an arm around Janey and ask her a few questions. She admits that she is “singing” for them today. But perhaps because she understands that she’ll need to go under the eye of the terror Simon Cowell himself, she keeps her responses short and sweet.
“I like singing and my friend is like, ‘Janey, go for it. Better late than never, dear,’” she said. “I’ve had a great life. Seven kids. Hard times but the happiest days of my life. No regrets.”
The judges prepare for Janey at the 40-second mark. And they can’t believe it when an 80-year-old woman walks out on stage to sing.
Simon is already rolling his eyes…
But as soon as he sees it is an old great-grandmother, he can’t help but let the sight of her taking a risk like this warm his heart. It probably reminds him of his own mother and grandmother.
After Simon asks how old she is and Janey admits she is 80, the crowd cannot keep down their applause. They are floored that this great-grandmother has come here today to audition for one of the most cutthroat talent programs ever invented.
Next, he asks her why she is auditioning for the show.
“Well, I like singing, so my friend says go for it.”
Finally, it is time for her to sing. Her choice is “No Regrets.” The music starts at the 1:50-mark. And within seconds, the audience knows how talented she is.
The audience erupts in passionate applause. They are completely taken by the lovely Janey Cutler.
And within the first thirty seconds of her singing, Simon has fallen in love.
Listen and you’ll hear Janey’s amazing mastery of the song’s dynamics. She is able to draw passion out of the melody and the lyrics. It is truly an inspiring performance.
Especially at the mid-performance climax at the 2:47-mark…
And then again at the 3:18-mark…
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