X FACTOR finalist Jahmene Douglas sang from the heart and won the hearts of the judges and the public as he sailed through the second live show of the competition at the weekend.
The 21-year-old, who was working at Swindon’s Asda Walmart until July, kicked off the night on Saturday, whose theme was love and heartbreak, with a stirring mash up of Amy Winehouse’s Tears Dry On Their Own alongside Motown classic Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.
The former New College pupil, who wore a white suit and black shirt, set the bar high as the first of the 12 contestants to perform. He appeared to have conquered some of his nerves and was delighted last night after the public voted him through to next week’s show.
After the performance, his mentor Nicole Scherzinger said: “You came out here and you took it, you just took it. You looked sharp, you looked fresh, you did something out of your element. “I don’t know if you realise or know about it yet but you were born to be on that stage.”
And fellow judge Louise Walsh said: “Jahmene, wow. I love the song. You are what the show is all about: somebody so young, so shy and so sober. You are one of my favourite ever contestants. I want to see you do so well. You are amazing.”
Earlier in the show, Jahmene was shown reacting with delight to a message of praise on Twitter from John Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono, following last week’s performance of Imagine.
During rehearsals for this week’s song, Nicole, who nicknamed Jahmene her “sweet, special baby-cakes”, told him to bring the emotion out of he song by singing it to her as if she were his girlfriend.
But Jahmene admitted he’d never been in love.
H e said: “This week is love and heartbreak week. For me to sing a love song, I put everything into it because everything in my life is building up to that one person. “Ever since I was little, I have been waiting for that perfect person. I’m 21 now and it still hasn’t come.”
And after his performance, judge Tulisa Contostavlos said: “May I just say you are looking very dapper tonight. I think the ladies are going to be lining up after that.
“Jahmene, it’s so simple when it comes to you with me. It’s all about the voice, your voice was amazing from the first audition. I just cannot fault you on any of your performances so far.”
And fellow judge Gary Barlow, who warned him last week of over-singing, had nothing but praise this time around.
“Jahmene, well done,” he said. “What a way to kick off the show. A really just simple vocal performance tonight, using your skills as a vocalist. Well done, you listened to me.
“I love the outfit. I love the whole flavour, the Motown flavour.”