Cheryl Fernandez-Versini was reduced to tears in the final audition show of this current series of ITV’s The X Factor.
The I Don’t Care singer was moved by the emotional audition of 40-year-old Sherilyn Hamilton Shaw who belted out the Whitney Houston classic I Don’t Know My Own Strength.
“I can’t handle that song,” the 32-year-old admitted as concerned fellow panellists Simon Cowell and Nick Grimshaw looked on.
Sherilyn, a mum-of-three from South Wales, has a heart defect and runs her own charity raising funds to place defibrillators in public places. The Welsh hopeful started singing when she was 13, but gave it all up at the age of 30 after her husband suffered a life-changing injury and was paralysed for six months.
A visibly affected Cheryl praised the auditionee for her performance: “It’s ridiculous how much the words resonate with me and I understand you’ve been through some hard times,” she said. “It really touched us.”
X Factor’s Sherilyn Hamilton Shaw sings Whitney (ITV Pictures)
Simon was more pragmatic in his appraisal: “It wasn’t the best vocal I’ve heard of that song,” he stated to boos from the crowd. “But it’s quite rare that every lyric of the song is relevant to your life.”
Radio 1′s Nick added: “There was such emotion in it. I really connected to it. I think you’re awesome.”
Sherilyn swept the panel with three yeses (Rita Ora was absent for this segment) and sailed through to the next stage of the competition.
Elsewhere, Simon was surprised when one of the managers of boyband hopefuls D Tour invaded the stage.
X Factor’s Debbie, manager of D Tour (ITV Pictures)
The group, who described themselves as a mixture of One Direction and Boyz II Men, were put together by duo Debbie and Paul, but the six-piece failed to impress the judging panel with their rendition of Chris Brown’s She Ain’t You.
“I thought it was a mess. You don’t look right, either. I don’t see where this fits in today’s market,” said Simon.
Debbie marched onto the stage, took a microphone from one of her boys and begged the head judge in off-key song-form to vote them through to bootcamp. “They did lack a bit of confidence today,” she conceded. “But it’s been a long day.”
Cheryl wasn’t swayed: “When you make it as a pop star, long days become your life,” she said.
X Factor’s judges enjoy some ice cream (ITV Pictures)
However, D Tour were given another chance, but their half-hearted rendition of Charlie Puth’s See You Again sealed their fate: “I just don’t want to give you any false hope. We’ve seen and heard better groups,” Simon stated.
Andy Taylor, a 34-year-old ice cream man from Wakefield, attempted to sweeten the judges by giving them ice cream. He auditioned to Walk The Moon’s Shut Up And Dance and received four yeses.
Lucy Duffield, a 26-year-old sales assistant and part-time singer from Essex, reminded Nick that she’d sung on his Radio 1 show as part of duo War Of Words. Signed and then dropped by record label Polydor, she wowed the audience with an a cappella version of Whitney Houston smash I Have Nothing.
Simon was so carried away by what he heard, he nearly swore live. “What I like about you is the fact that you’re a bit effed off,” Simon said. “You’ve tasted that you nearly had it and then it was taken away from you. This could be your time, Lucy.”
Fellow Essex girl Megan Dallas, a 24-year-old accountant from Basildon who played guitar as she performed TLC classic Waterfalls, also earned four yeses.
Other acts through include: husband and wife team Nige and Kay, married couple Chris Kennedy and Gabriel Cabrera, Irishman Joseph McCaul, who made it through to bootcamp in 2011, and Menn On Point – two Ghanaians living in London who got everyone dancing to their original composition called Turn It Up.
The next episode of The X Factor screens tonight at 7pm