Simon Cowell 'broke the rules' for tear-jerking 'Unity' dance on Britain's Got Talent
The judges had reached their Golden Buzzer limit, but Cowell decided the "astonishing" act deserved a special honor.
Simon Cowell may have made his U.S. debut as a hard-nosed grump on "American Idol," but anyone familiar with him knows he's a big ol' softie inside. When a performance moves him, he's not ashamed to say so, and when an act deserves accolades, he's not afraid to go above and beyond to make sure they get their kudos.
Such was the case with the dance troupe Unity and their emotional performance to the Wrabel song, "The Village," on "Britain's Got Talent." The group of 16 to 25-year-olds, wearing all black, began by standing together on stage as one of them explained who they were.
"We're all friends in college, so we decided to put this group together to perform a piece called 'I Will,' which is about being told that you can't or you're not enough, and how as a group that we come together and power through that," said the group's spokesperson.
As the music cued up, a screen behind the dancers read, "In nature, a flock will attach any bird that is more colourful than the others because being different is seen as a threat…" Then Emma, a girl with Down Syndrome, began to speak about how people say she "can't," while the troupe spoke in sign language along with her.
Following Emma came Declan, who stretches gender boundaries. Then came Steph and Libby, who are in love, a boy who was bullied growing up for his love of dance and a young woman who has been underestimated due to her body shape. As each person shared their personal story, the lyrics of "The Village" highlighted their struggles to be accepted.
At the same time, the group's dancing showed the support a group can give someone who feels excluded or ostracized. Ultimately, it was an incredibly moving performance with a beautiful message of inclusion: "It is not our differences that divide us, it is our inability to recognize, accept, embrace and celebrate those differences.”
The judges were unanimously impressed, and the audience chanted for them to give the group the Golden Buzzer, which would send them straight to the finals. However, the judges have a limited number of Golden Buzzers per season, and they had already used them all up.
Simon Cowell felt inspired enough by the performance to "break the rules," however, and gave them a delightful surprise ending.
Watch what moved him, the other judges and the audience so much:
Empowering, inspiring and impactful. Congratulations, Unity, on making a memorable impression on us all.