Simon Cowell used to be TV’s “meanest judge,” but these days the “heartless” talent mogul is proving there’s more to him than meets the eye.
One of the rising acts of the British Talent competition, “Britain’s Got Talent,” is a dance collective called MerseyGirls. The five teen girls, formerly known as “Just Us,” found their way to the BGT finals after leaving judge, Alesha Dixon, in tears with their performance.
One of the dancers, 15-year-old Julia Carlile, revealed that the group was hoping to win the competition so she could have life-changing back surgery to fix her scoliosis.
“If I don’t win BGT, I may never dance again,” Julia said in an interview with producers. She told the judges before their performance that BGT was her last chance to dance.
Born with the condition, Julia lives in constant pain, and she’s suffered the ramifications of scoliosis her whole life.
A surgery available in the United States is expected to be the solution to the teen’s problem. The only thing is—it costs more than $100,000.
After blowing everyone away with their performance to Rachel Platton’s “Fight Song,” the girls received high praise from all of the judges, and even a gold buzzer from Alesha Dixon.
Simon smiled and spoke directly to Julia saying, “You’re the kind of person who’s got determination, regardless of what happens.”
He then assured her that their journey was not over, and even hinted that he’d pay for her to have the surgery:
“Whatever happens, we’re going to make sure you end up in a great place, don’t worry.”
After hinting he’d pay for her surgery, Simon spoke to reporters saying, “There’s no way I would ever have her [Julia] on this show and say, it’s all just about winning the £250,000. I couldn’t do that. You would do the same thing.” He continued, “I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror if I did nothing.”
The 57-year-old said that the show “creates a connection,” and the judges truly care about what happens to these acts—especially with a story and attitude like that of Julia.
“There’s no way I would ever say: ‘Right, you came second, so it’s all over.’”
For now, the dance team is one step closer to the £250,000 grand prize, and since their emotional semi-finals performance aired on Thursday, Julia has been approached by a number of others who want to offer their financial and medical help.