Simon Cowell broke down in tears after reuniting a former contestant while filming Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions on Saturday.
The Sun reported that the 59-year-old judge and producer could not hold back his emotions after he was reunited with 17-year-old Julia Carlile, one member of the dance troupe known as MerseyGirls.
Back in 2017, Julia auditioned for the show with her group. She said she was hoping to win the £250,000 and use it to have an operation to correct her curved spine. The group ended up not winning the show but Simon flew Julia out to America and paid £175,000 of his own money for her spinal operation.
During Saturday’s taping, Julia showed off her new spine. She did a backflip and dance her heart out, leaving the judges and everyone at Wembley Arena on their feet. When it came time to critique, judge Amanda Holden asked Simon to speak but he was too emotional. He said a few words and left to the side of the stage to compose himself before returning.
“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 said according to the tabloid.
“To see you able to come back tonight . . . it just means everything . . .”
Julia responded by thanking Simon for not only asking her back for Champions but for changing her life.
“Simon, thank you so much. I don’t think I have ever been so happy as I am right now,” she said. “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. I couldn’t walk two years ago and now I am here.”
The show wraps up filming this week with stars such as Paul Potts, Ashleigh and Pusey, Boogie Storm, and Twist and Pulse. International acts include sword swallower, Alex Magala, Paul Zerdin, Preacher Lawson, and Vicki Barbalak.
Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions airs next month on ITV.