Standing beneath the glowing white stage lights, 23-year old Emma Jones brushes her hair aside anxiously. Her shoulders are slightly stooped, her polite smiles interrupted by nervous lip twitches. She doesn’t look like a performer ready to take the audience by vocal storm – much less someone who would appear on television at all.
Yet take the audience she most certainly does. The stunned crowd bursts into eruptive cheers only moments after Jones’ hits her first note in a rendition of “Ave Maria.” With a shy and reserved persona strikingly similar to Susan Boyle’s sensational audition on the same show, Britain’s Got Talent, Jones entire demeanor quickly shifts. Her cheeks brighten, her posture straightens, her eyes look up and out in captivating confidence.
Jones’ voice perfectly fits the Schubert piece, crooning and soaring in grandiose-ballad perfection. Like a life-long opera performer, she tailors her performance with a simple regality fit for someone twice her age and experience.
The judges are quick to take note. As the camera pans to their stunned and smiling faces, even Simon Cowell is found grinning ear to ear, clearly impressed by what’s unfolding before his eyes.
Her hands still slightly shaking, Jones ends the piece to a roaring, standing ovation. She looks around, caught somewhere between bewilderment and joy.
It will be moment remembered by all – especially for young, perhaps not-so-timid Jones.