'SA's Got Talent': singing streetsweeper takes the big money

2010-10-29 00:00

JAMES Bhemjee, the singing streetsweeper from Cape Town, who captivated the hearts of the nation at his audition in Cape Town, walked away with the R250 000 prize in the grand finale of SA’s Got Talent last night.

Before taking to the stage to sing Josh Groban’s Gira Con Me the 45-year-old tenor from Mitchell’s Plein said: “My semi-final went really well, but now I have to do something bigger and better. I want to win very badly tonight because I’ve come this far. There’s no turning back.”

His performance received universal praise from the judges with Shadow Twala saying: “You can perform anywhere in the world. You are the best.” Randall Abrahams agreed, saying: “You brought the fireworks to the stage. I’m glad you didn’t go for something as big as you did in the semi-final — you don’t have to do anything fancy, you’re that good.” And Ian von Memerty said: “You’ve been a front runner for three reasons — your story; you’re humble; and you’re blessed with an amazing talent.”

Bhemjee’s story is one which proves that your background should never define you. The humble singer’s talent was discovered when a woman overheard him singing while he was sweeping the streets of Cape Town and sponsored voice training lessons for him.

Last night’s runner-up was Madalene Abrahams, who sang Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You. Third place went to the Limited Edition Drum Corps, whose display of precision drumming reduced Von Memerty to tears.

He said: “It was utterly flawless, completely compelling, fantastic entertainment … it was bloody fantastic you buggers.”

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