13-year-old Sara James looked like your average middle schooler when she hit the stage on America’s Got Talent. However, the unassuming Polish teen was soon going to have the whole room in the palm of her hand when she sang a mesmerising version of Billie Eilish’s “Lovely”. Her performance totally brought the house down and clinched a well-deserved golden buzzer.
“Lovely” has an ambient arrangement with absolutely nowhere to hide as a vocalist, but Sara rose to the challenge and just stunned the audience with her heartfelt and soulful vocals. There’s some people who are just born to sing on the big stage and there is absolutely no doubt Sara is one of them. Her audition has been viewed 38.5 million times on YouTube, making it one of the most popular videos on the whole America’s Got Talent channel.
The original version of “Lovely” is a duet between Eilish and Khalid, but Sara flawlessly adapted the megahit into her own style. Eilish sings the song in a dark pop style, but Sara leaned more into an R&B vibe which really highlighted her talents as a vocalist. She showcased impeccable technical skill, hitting all the right notes and also gave the song a powerful emotional impact.
Sara said before the song that “When I was little I was always watching the videos from the show – I was so amazed by it. And you know, they said that in America dreams can come true.” Simon Cowell later noted to his fellow judges that Sara was nervous. All worries about nerves were washed away though when Sara started singing and she quickly had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Later in the semi-finals, Sara sang a gorgeous version of Elton John’s “Rocket Man”, which you can hear below.
The judges were totally blown away by Sara’s audition on “Lovely” and gave her a standing ovation. Cowell told her “We’ve heard a lot of singers over the years, but wow, there are those moments where… I mean this wasn’t perfect, however, you have a real star glow about you.” He then told Sara that he was going to make her first trip to America something to remember forever and made good on that promise by hitting the golden buzzer.
There’s no doubt about whether Sara deserved it or not because Cowell was 100% right when he said her audition was something really special that stood out in the history of the show.
Sara eventually progressed to the finals of the 17th season of America’s Got Talent, but was eliminated when the cut to make the top five was announced. However, she wasn’t done with her TV career as in 2023 she returned on the spin-off show America’s Got Talent: All-Stars.
Sara has also found success as a solo artist signed to Universal Music Polska, most notably scoring a Platinum hit in her homeland in 2021 with the song “Somebody,” which was her entry into the Junior Eurovision Song Contest. If you would like to see more from Sara James, you can subscribe to her YouTube channel or follow her on Instagram.