Simon Cowell is known for not showing very much emotion while judging his numerous televised competition shows.
In the early years of American Idol, he essentially made a name for himself by presenting blunt and cold critiques that were oftentimes booed and heavily criticized by his fellow judges, fans, and even the contestants receiving the feedback.
However, there is one particular X Factor audition from 2015 that will always be remembered as the performance that broke through Simon Cowell’s barrier, leaving him crying and surprisingly speechless. After explaining his personal story and occupation as a car mechanic who sings as a hobby, Josh Daniel made headlines with his memorable performance of the popular 2014 Labrinth song “Jealous.”
Apparently, Simon’s emotional breakdown was sparked by his grief over the loss of his late mother. Without watching the clip of Josh’s audition, it might be a little confusing why Simon Cowell would be thinking about his mother’s passing while listening to a rendition of “Jealous.” That twist is more than likely due to Josh Daniel’s explanation of what the song meant to him and he personally interpreted the lyrics.
As shown in the video, Daniel was still grieving the loss of a loved one himself — a close childhood friend who died at the young age of 18. Reflecting on his grief and memories of his friend, Josh explained that the song reminded that he’s jealous of his friend being in a “happier place” without him, essentially spinning a tune about a broken relationship into an emotional ballad about grief and bereavement.
— DaizyDizzy (@DaizyDizzy) July 14, 2016
— yogesh tiwari (@yog10jan) July 4, 2016
During an ITV show interview, Simon Cowell opened up about his unexpected experience as his emotional roller coaster and train of thought both traveled throughout Josh’s performance.
“I mean it was quite near when it all happened and I think it was the last audition and I wasn’t really expecting what happened and of course the lyric of the song and it was quite difficult because I thought, ‘God this is going to be really hard to sit through this.’ But then you’ve got to think of [Josh Daniel] and it’s his moment but yes it was very emotional.”
Simon Cowell further explained that his mother loved X Factor and “was a huge fan of the show.” He admitted struggling with the decision of when he should return to work after his mother passed. However, the decision was apparently made for him when he reflected on his thoughts of his mother encouraging him to go back to work if she was there.
Whatever happened to Josh Daniel after he made Simon Cowell think about his mother and cry during his X Factor audition? According to Josh’s official website, that audition boosted the young car mechanic into a new career as a recording artist working on his album.
— Chou (@sqraran) March 4, 2017
Josh was eventually eliminated from the X Factor competition — the same type of elimination that many others faced before and after him. However, as many others who did not make the cut on the show, it is clear that he was able to capitalize on his viral stardom, especially after the tens of millions of views that his performance has generated on YouTube alone.
Not very many people can say that they made Simon Cowell cry with their empowering auditions. However, Josh Daniel can honestly say that he did make the cut for that relatively short list.
[Featured Image by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images]