This weekend marked an emotional reunion for Simon Cowell while filming BGT. Dancer Julia Carlile, who appeared on the show in 2017, returned to the stage for Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions. Simon famously paid for the teen’s scoliosis surgery after her dance team came close to winning the show.
Julia and her fellow dancers, the MerseyGirls, had planned to use the prize money to pay for Julia’s surgery. However, when they lost the competition, Simon stepped up and made it happen. He paid for Julia to have £175,000 surgery in the United States. (The UK option would have put a steel rod in her back and kept her from dancing.)
Simon Cowell Breaks Down In Tears
According to The Sun, 17-year-old Julia performed at Wembley Arena for The Champions on Saturday, and even showed off a backflip as part of her group’s routine.
Simon was apparently so emotional that he could barely speak at first, and even had to leave the judging table to compose himself. “All I want to talk about is one person’s strength and, beyond that, the friendship and support you all have, which we saw the first time we met you,” he reportedly said.
He added that it “means everything” to see them come back to the show.
Pregnant Alesha Dixon Reunites With Golden Buzzer
Fellow judge Alesha Dixon hit the Golden Buzzer for MerseyGirls during their original appearance on the show. Alesha, who is currently pregnant, reportedly responded to Saturday’s performance by saying, “That just made my heart soar. Simon, I love you, I love what you’ve done for her.”
Julia, meanwhile, had words of gratitude for Simon. “I thought that now I would be at home not dancing for the rest of my life — but here I am backflipping with my best friends,” she apparently said. “I couldn’t walk two years ago and now I am here.” She thanked Simon and shared, “I don’t think I have ever been so happy as I am right now.”
Simon Cowell Shows His Softer Side
Simon may have made a name for himself as the mean judge on shows like American Idol, but he’s been showing his softer side in recent years. Julia Carlile isn’t the only talent show contestant he’s helped through a hard time.
Last year, Simon helped The X Factor UK contestant Scarlett Lee after her family home burned down. He reportedly sent over toys for her brother’s kids, as well as clothes and other items.
Looks like Simon should change his nickname from Mr. Nasty to Mr. Softie.