It’s a common occurrence on shows like BGT and AGT for judge Simon Cowell to stop auditioning singers in the middle of a performance. It may seem harsh, but it’s usually because he wants to give them a chance to sound even better.
That was the case for Shaheen Jafargholi, who auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent in 2009. Simon asked him to change to a different song, and what happened next is incredible.
Simon Cowell Stops Singer On ‘BGT’
Shaheen attended the BGT auditions with his mom Karen. He shared that he would be singing “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, saying it’s one of his favorite songs. He added that he’s sung it at weddings and family parties before, and his grandfather loves it.
Simon Cowell seemed intrigued by Shaheen’s song choice at first, but the 12-year-old was only a few seconds into the performance when he held his hand up to cut the music. “You got this really wrong,” Simon told him.
He asked Shaheen what other songs he sings, and Shaheen mentioned “Who’s Loving You” by the Jackson 5. From the very first note, Simon seemed much more impressed by Shaheen’s performance. His powerful voice had the audience cheering and the judges smiling.
What Did Simon Say After Shaheen’s Second Song?
The judges gave Shaheen a standing ovation after his performance. “This is how one song can change your life,” Simon told him. “And this may be the start of something special for you, young man.”
Amanda Holden told Shaheen that she got goosebumps, which had only ever happened previously with contestants Paul Potts and George Sampson. All three judges voted “yes” to send Shaheen through. He made it all the way to the finals, and has since embarked on an impressive career.
After BGT, Shaheen performed on the Britain’s Got Talent tour, and even sang at Michael Jackson’s memorial service in 2009. Before Jackson’s death, the star had seen a video of Shaheen performing on BGT, and they were in talks to perform together on tour. Shaheen later called the experience “surreal.”
Now 23, Shaheen is also an actor, performing both on the stage and in television series. Notably, he’s appeared as a series regular on EastEnders and Casualty in the UK.