“In a three-minute performance, X Factor UK contestant Gamu Nhengu captures Simon Cowell’s attention and breathes new life into a song written before she was born.”
Nhengu is 18 years old, and when asked why she decided to become a singer, she says she wants to be someone and do something that people would remember. She speaks confidently and persuasively, and she does not appear anxious in front of the four judges.
The song ‘Walking on Sunshine’ was chosen by Nhengu. It’s by Katrina and the Waves, a 1980s new wave band. While Katrina and the Waves are not a one-hit wonder, they are most known for a single released in 1985. ‘Walking on Sunshine’ is a staple of 1980s and nostalgia films.
In her introduction, Nhengu informs the judges that she has made some changes to her song. She doesn’t say what she changed, whether it was a lyrical adjustment or a different arrangement, so the audience and judges are naturally curious. Nhengu does not disappoint once she moves past the introductions and starts singing.
Unlike the other three judges, Simon Cowell appears to have skipped breakfast and has a rumbly stomach. “ “I’m excited to hear what you’ve done with this song,” Simon responds to Nhengu’s allegation that she changed her music.
While Simon maintains his sad expression throughout the song, the audience quickly notices Nhengu’s vivacity and wit. Her changes were minor, but they impacted the entire meaning of the song. Whereas the chorus of the original song begins, “you’re my sunshine/and don’t it feel fantastic,” Nhengu’s rendition begins, “you’re my sunshine/but you gotta go.”
This hints at the song’s subject matter: a breakup. Nhengu tells her that she does not want to waste her life waiting for her dating partner. It’s a commanding performance that fits Nhengu’s personality well, from her body language to her acerbic delivery to her outfit. Nhengu is decked up in a floor-length gown with a massive rose bow in her hair.
The other judges have nothing but admiration for Nhengu. Louis Walsh practically gushes about the young performer, saying she has “something incredibly nice” about her and praising her attitude, song selection, and vibrancy. Nhengu is described as “soulful” by Walsh, and anyone watching would agree with that assessment.
Simon, on the other hand, seemed unimpressed. As Simon says, “I’m departing, to be honest with you.” the room grows silent, and the house music changes. You performed one of my worst songs ever.” Then Simon takes a breather. The entire world appears to stop until Simon replies, “You did something different with it–I like you.”
Nhengu appears to breathe for the first time in several minutes as Simon continues to compliment her on her jazzy approach. All four judges give Game a yes after she tells about her mother through tears. Simon even says ” a million percent yes” right as Nhengu’s lover steps out on stage to congratulate her overjoyed daughter. Sometimes changing things up is the best way to demonstrate how amazing you are.”