“X Factor UK candidate Gamu Nhengu captures Simon Cowell’s attention and breathes fresh life into a song created before she was born, all in a three-minute performance.”
Nhengu is 18 years old, and when asked why she became a singer, she says she wants to be somebody and accomplish something that people would remember. She speaks with confidence and conviction, and she does not appear to be nervous in front of the four judges.
Nhengu chose the song ‘Walking on Sunshine.’ It’s by Katrina and the Waves, a new wave band from the 1980s. While Katrina and the Waves are not a one-hit-wonder, they are most known for a 1985 single. ‘Walking on Sunshine ‘ is a mainstay of 1980s films and nostalgic films.
Nhengu tells the judges in her introduction that she has made some alterations to her song. She doesn’t specify what she changed, whether it was a lyrical alteration or a different arrangement, so the audience and judges are understandably intrigued. Nhengu does not disappoint once she gets beyond the introductions and begins to sing.
While the other three judges are all grin, Simon Cowell appears to have skipped breakfast and has a rumbly gut. “ “I’m eager to see what you’ve done with this song,” Simon says in response to Nhengu’s claim that she changed her music.
While Simon’s glum face remains throughout the song, the audience quickly picks up on Nhengu’s liveliness and sass. Her adjustments were slight, but they altered the song’s overall meaning. Whereas the original song’s chorus begins, “you’re my sunshine/and don’t it feel wonderful,” Nhengu’s version begins, “you’re my sunshine/, but you gotta go.”
This indicates that the song is about a breakup. Nhengu informs her that she does not want to spend her life waiting on her dating partner. It’s an authoritative turn that fits Nhengu’s demeanor well, from her body language to her caustic delivery to her attire. Nhengu is dressed to the floor in a floor-length gown with a huge rose bow in her hair.
Nhengu has received nothing but praise from the other judges. Louis Walsh virtually gushes, claiming the young musician has “something extremely pleasant” about her and applauding her attitude, song selection, and vitality. Walsh describes Nhengu as “soulful,” and anyone watching would agree with that judgment.