In a compelling three-minute audition on “X Factor UK,” contestant Gamu Nhengu not only captured Simon Cowell’s heart but also infused an old classic with new life.

At just 18, Nhengu expressed a strong desire to leave a lasting impression, hoping to be remembered for her artistry. She chose “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, a quintessential ’80s track, promising the judges that she had put her own twist on it.

Nhengu’s performance was charged with a distinct energy that immediately engaged both the audience and the judges. While Simon initially appeared unenthused, possibly due to skipping breakfast, his interest peaked as Nhengu began her rendition.

She transformed the song’s chorus to reflect themes of independence and moving on from a relationship, singing “You’re my sunshine/but you must leave,” signaling a farewell rather than a celebration.

This reinterpretation turned the song into an anthem of empowerment and decisiveness, which perfectly matched Nhengu’s commanding stage presence. Dressed in a floor-length gown with a striking rose bow in her hair, she delivered each note with a blend of grace and conviction.

The other judges were quick to praise her, with Louis Walsh commenting on her soulfulness and vibrant performance. Despite Simon’s initial reluctance, he admitted to being impressed by Nhengu’s innovative approach, leading to enthusiastic approval from all four judges. Nhengu’s audition ended on a high note, underscored by emotional support from her friends and family, showcasing her potential to truly make a mark on the music world.