Simon Cowell has singer remove excessive makeup—but when she returns, everyone’s floored

Saved by a wildcard following her elimination in the X Factor’s “Six Chair Challenge,” 17-year-old Samantha Lavery was back in the game, and this time she was set to sing at Judge’s Houses in Malibu.

The young English singer from Durham never thought she’d end up at such an exotic location to further audition. Despite missing her folks back at home, she’s loving the experience.

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So, on the big day at the beachside mansion, the sun was shining, the weather perfect—everything seemed right, except one thing.

As Samantha appears before the judges for her much-anticipated audition, she’s stunned to face criticism over her makeup before she’s even started singing.

©YouTube Screenshot | Talent Recap

It wasn’t new criticism to Samantha, however, for in her last performance on the X Factor stage, Judge Simon Cowell told her pretty directly.

“You’ve over styled yourself,” criticized Simon. “The song was horrible.”

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So, this time round, Simon, dressed in all white and donning a pair of sunglasses, says: “Samantha, I kind of wish that we’d met without your kind of, what you think is your pop star image. I think that with you, we’ve had a bit of a mask put up. I’d almost like to see you without so much makeup.”

“Samantha, I want to get to know who you really are.”

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He suggests that she come back after taking off the makeup. As Samantha walks away, Simon says that even if she rocks up in a pair of jeans, that’s fine—he just wants to hear her sing.

Obviously, it’s been a long day, not only for the nervous contestants who’re huddled together as they each wait their turn, but for the judges as well.

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As Samantha returns for her audition, it’s already dark outside. Before we get a look at Samantha, all three of the judges smile as she approaches—she’s obviously looking different. In fact, Simon leans forward in amazement just to get a better look at her.

“And who are you?” he jokes with a friendly smile. “You look amazing.”

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The main thing is she came back composed and didn’t let the criticism earlier on in the day get to her.

Alright, so let’s hear the girl sing.

As Samantha starts singing the first lines of “Make It Rain,” she demonstrates her incredible vocal capacity. By looking at the judges’ satisfied expressions as they listen, we can tell this girl is raw talent.

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Highly impressed and delighted with Samantha’s strong vocals, all three of the judges praised the aspiring star.

Judge Mel B says that she’s got a maturity about her voice, which she liked.

Another former Spice Girl, Emma Bunton, said that she could listen to Samantha sing all day long.

And on her fresh appearance?

“It’s all about the eyes, isn’t it?” Bunton said, as Samantha walks off after her audition.

“Totally,” Simon concurs.

“I just felt like I was inside her soul,” Bunton adds.

“That was like meeting a different person,” says Simon.

Though Samantha was selected as one of the top 3 following her performance at Judge’s Houses, by week 6, she was eliminated.

Today, Samantha is 18, and has since been working on producing her own music, having released her first single “Walk Away,” then another in October, “Beat of You.”

Watch Samantha Lavery’s performance below:

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She used to never leave the house without thick makeup