You wouldn’t know it by looking at her but 15-year-old Sarah Ikumu packs a bombastic and soulful voice that took Britain’s Got Talent by storm during her audition. Sarah sang “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, and despite her young age, the voice of an old time soul sister just poured out of her. At several points judge Alesha Dixon was totally flabbergasted by the power the teen was putting out onstage.
Sarah, who is from Milton Keynes, displayed a strong technical command of her voice as well as a whole lot of attitude, which got the audience on their feet and cheering before she was even done. There’s a whole lot of vocal talent on display on the show, but the teen showed she was the cream of the crop. Simon Cowell instantly recognized her enormous talent and after she finished the song, he smashed the golden buzzer, sending the crowd into overdrive.
Sarah screamed with joy and jumped up and down after Cowell hit the buzzer, while her parents celebrated in the crowd. Cowell opened the judges’ comments, saying “Sarah I’ve heard this song a lot. It started off really well and I thought ‘yeah this girl’s great.’ And then it was like you became possessed halfway through. It was quite incredible. And for someone of your age to stand on this stage, with all the nerves and all the pressure, to not just nail the song but you made it your song.”
Amanda Holden said “I am thrilled that you got the golden buzzer. It was mind-blowing. I couldn’t believe that you’re only 15.” Alesha Dixon, who knows a thing or two about soul, said “you are not allowed to have that much talent at your age – it’s insane. And I didn’t press the golden buzzer because I wanted Simon to press it, because I want you to go far and I think Simon can help you because you are a superstar!” You can watch Sarah take on Prince’s “Purple Rain” in the video below.
David Walliams couldn’t help but put in a cheeky response to Sarah’s song by responding with “yeah, it was alright,” before letting up and agreeing that the performance was fantastic. Sarah’s whole family was watching from the side of the stage with Ant and Dec at this point, and it was really heart-warming to watch them so happy to see their girl succeed.
Sarah returned to sing in the season 11 semi-finals, where she tackled “Purple Rain.” After the song Simon observed that out of all the seasons of Britain’s Got Talent “you are the best singer who’s come on here.” It’s certainly hard to think of any other contestants who displayed more vocal firepower than Sarah.
Despite her strong performance, she finished in third place in the semi-finals. The judges later brought her back as a wildcard in the final, where she sang “Rise Up” by Andra Day, although it wasn’t enough for her to clinch the competition. The teen later returned to the Britain’s Got Talent Christmas Spectacular, where she sang Lily Allen’s “Somewhere Only We Know.” If you would like to see more from Sarah Ikumu, you can subscribe to her YouTube channel or follow her on Instagram.