Just months after participating in Junior Eurovision 2021 and placing second in Pairs, Sara James flew to the US to audition for America’s Got Talent. Her audition aired during the 3rd episode of season 17, where her rendition of Billie Eilish’s “Lovely” received only feedback from Simon Cowell before he hit his golden buzzer. As a golden buzzer act, James advanced directly to the semi-final show that aired tonight. The performance has also gained her direct attention from Eilish herself, as the artist retweeted the performance from NBC soon after it was posted.
Speaking about her audition experience, James immediately expressed gratitude to judge Simon Cowell saying: “thank you for giving me the opportunity to stay on this stage.” And she did not waste a single moment of this chance. During last night’s semi-final competition, James performed a unique, emotional, and slower cover of Elton John’s classic hit “Rocket Man” – earning thunderous applause from the audience and the judges. The performance landed her in the top two of the episode, and guarantee’s her a spot in September 13th’s grand final episode and the chance to win 1 million US dollars.
People magazine talked with the judges after the show, and Cowell was not shy of praising the young 14 year old star. “That was probably the best closer of the show we’ve had all season. That was one of the moments you don’t see very often on any show – it was incredible.” he was quoted as saying backstage. He commended her immediately after the performance and said her song choice was “genius” and Heidi Klum complimented Cowell on knowing how to pick true stars. Fellow judge Howie Mandel was equally as floored, calling it a “winning performance” and calling her a “superstar” before the conclusion of the show.
James is the second artist from Junior Eurovision to audition for America’s Got Talent after representing their country on the big stage, as Daniela Tuleshova of Kazakhstan also competed on season 15 alongside Eurovision 2022 artist Sheldon Riley of Australia. While Sheldon failed to advance past the quarterfinals, Tuleshova made it to the finale and placed in the bottom 5 out of 10 performers (final placements beyond the top 3 are not revealed by the show). If James makes it into the top 5 spot it would make her the most successful Eurovision-affiliated artist in the show’s history.
If she goes on to win America’s Got Talent it would be her third TV competition win following her victory on Poland’s The Voice Kids in 2021 and the Polish national final Szansa na Sukces later that year.