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5 Times Simon Cowell Cried on Talent Shows Proving He Does Have a Heart

Catherine DiMeglio

Catherine DiMeglio

Simon Cowell CryingiTV

As we know, Simon Cowell is no longer as mean as he used to be. In fact, many would consider him to be kind of a softie these days. Cowell, has definitely lightened up over the years. So much so, that he has even broken down over some of the most heartbreaking and heartwarming contestants on talent shows. Here, we will dive in to five times Cowell has cried on the judging panel.


1. Nightbirde

During America’s Got Talent Season 16, Cowell’s Golden Buzzer winner was an incredible vocalist with a heartbreaking story. Jane Marczewski, better known as Nightbirde, auditioned for AGT with an original song titled “It’s Ok.”

Here, she shared that she had stage four cancer throughout her body and just a two percent chance of survival. Unfortunately, AGT had to take a backseat after her audition due to the return of her growing health problems. Nightbirde spoke to the judges one last time during the lives shows and Cowell looked very emotional while speaking to the singer. Cowell reassured Nightbirde that she made the right call by focusing on her health. His voice wavered and he held back tears when saying:

“You made the decision, rightly so, that your health is your priority right now and I know the last time we spoke you actually said that you feel like you let people down. On behalf of all of us, you haven’t let anyone down. Even though you haven’t competed – you already won.”


2. Evie Clair

13-year-old Evie Clair brought Cowell to tears during an incredible performance on Season 12 of America’s Got Talent. Evie auditioned for the show while her father was hospitalized with stage four cancer. Before she could return for the finals, tragedy struck and her father sadly died. Many weren’t sure if she would continue in the competition.

The judges reportedly assured Evie that if she would not return, she would have a spot in the next season’s show. Evie finished what she started and went through with her act despite dealing with the intense tragedy of losing a parent. She sang an incredible rendition of “Yours” by Ella Henderson at a pink piano. In the judge’s remarks, Cowell got all choked up and let Evie know just how proud her dad would be of her. She went on to finish in the top five of season 12 in 2017.

3. Dave & Finn

Nothing gets Cowell emotional like a good pet act, and this one featuring police dog Finn was a real doozy. During season 13 of Britain’s Got Talent, Dave and his best friend german shepherd Finn performed a mind-bending and totally heart-warming act.


Their bond started when Dave was a police officer and deepened in 2016 when Finn risked his life to save his human. Dave shared shocking photos and videos from that frightening time in their lives. Finn jumped in front of Dave to save him from being stabbed and was injured in the process. He was severely hurt and went on to fight for his life. Thankfully, he survived. 

The disturbing and heartbreaking photos had Cowell fighting back tears. The judge became visibly upset at the sight of this brave dog fighting for his life. Amanda Holden even gave her co-star a comforting shoulder squeeze to keep him from breaking down. 

4. Michael Ketterer

Cowell already had an attachment to Michael Ketterer, considering he was his Golden Buzzer winner during season 13 of AGT. But his emotional version of “Us” by James Bay during the quarterfinals had the judge needing a break. 

Michael worked as a pediatric mental health nurse and has five adopted children. Michael and his wife Ivey are true heroes and rescued five of their six children from homelessness and foster care. Michael dreamed of becoming a singer and wowed Cowell with his insane vocals, plus that truly beautiful story.

After his performance, Host Tyra Banks pushed Cowell to talk through his emotions. After their standing ovation Banks called on Cowell and he asked to come back to him in a minute.

“No, I’m not going to come back to you, I know you’re emotional and I want you to talk through it,” Banks said.

Cowell stumbled over his words a bit and Banks pushed him to talk through his emotions.

“As a dad I can’t imagine what you’ve done. You’re a really really special guy,” he said. 

5. Josh Daniel

Josh Daniel auditioned for the X Factor in 2015 and sang an emotional rendition of “Jealous” by Labyryinth, but the song meant something a little bit different to him. Daniel lost his best friend and dedicated his audition to him. The meaning of the song is meant to be about romantic relationships, but the contestant felt jealous of his best friend for leaving him alone on earth. 

The judges were completely transfixed by his performance and were all in tears. During their remarks Cowell had to take a moment and gestured to his fellow judge Cheryl Ann Tweedy to go on with her comments without him. Even she got tearful and could barely continue with her compliments of his performance. Cowell had a few tears streaming down his cheeks and didn’t even get a chance to speak on Daniel’s performance before letting him know that he received three yeses.

6. Shooting Star Children’s Hospice

During the X Factor, the finalists performed Snow Patrol’s “Run” in honor of a variety of children’s charities. Cowell, vice president of Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, got emotional when he learned that the proceeds from the performance would go to Shooting Star and Together For Short Lives.

When asked to share his thoughts about the performance, and the donation, Cowell broke down crying. His girlfriend, Lauren Silverman, jumped up onto the judges’ platform to hug him as he cried.

The emotional moment is one of the most touching and heartwarming moments on any talent show, and really humanized the notorious television show mogul.

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About the Author

Catherine DiMeglio
Catherine Di Meglio is a content writer and YouTube host at talent recap. With a love of all things entertainment, she earned her Master’s degree in media management from Wagner College in 2021. Catherine is a New York City girl who has many passions including beauty and fashion, photography, traveling, and making memories with loved ones.

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