On Saturday, Simon Cowell showed off his uncharacteristic softer side during a reunion with the “Britain’s Got Talent” dancer whose spinal surgery he funded.
Breaking into tears after seeing Julia Carlile’s performance, the talent judge could barely speak the words of praise he had for the 17-year-old, who first appeared on the show in 2017 with her dancing group.
After Carlile’s initial performance on “Britain’s Got Talent,” which earned her team a golden buzzer, the teen was told by doctors that she might never be able to dance again.
She suffered from scoliosis, and the teen’s curved spine continued to worsen as she grew older and taller.
After seeing her talent and falling in love with her dance team’s enthusiasm and support for one another, Cowell offered to fund the surgery that would change everything for Carlile.
Sponsoring a corrective spinal procedure that would allow the teen to dance once again, he paid the entire £175,000, or around $214,049 USD, according to The Sun.
Carlile took the stage for the first time since her surgery alongside her fellow dancers in the group MerseyGirls on Saturday.
Their routine did not disappoint. Carlile backflipped across the stage, showing off her renewed flexibility and health, thanks to Cowell.
After the girls finished their routine, Carlile 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,” she added. “Simon, thank you so much. I don’t think I have ever been so happy as I am right now.”
One of the show’s other judges, Amanda Holden, urged Simon to speak up, but, overcome with emotion, he could barely get the words out.
“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.”
“To see you able to come back tonight … it just means everything,” he said.