81-year-old Evelyn Williams knocked the judges out for six on Ireland’s Got Talent with an emotional performance of “Send in the Clowns.”. The great-grandmother from Tallaght really put her all into the musical number, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house once she was done.
Williams sang over a minimalist ambient backing, which really accentuated the emotional impact of her performance. Afterwards, she got a standing ovation from the audience and was overcome with emotion at the end of the song. Judge Michelle Visage then sent the room into overdrive by hitting the golden buzzer, sending Williams straight to the semi-finals. The video is one of the most popular uploads on the Ireland’s Got Talent channel, with 7.9 million views clocked.
“Send in the Clowns” was penned by Stephen Sondheim for his 1973 musical A Little Night Music and was a great choice to show off Williams’ talents. After the song, she told the audience, “Oh my God, my husband would be very proud to be here tonight. I want to thank every single one of you,” which drew awws from the audience.
Visage walked onstage for a hug with Williams and told the crowd, “There is such life in this woman. She stood up here and commanded the stage better than anyone we’ve yet seen on this stage. She’s a storyteller. She stood here, and she sang one of the most incredible Stephen Sondheim songs ever written, and she sang it with love, and that just killed me.” Another hit performance of “Send in the Clowns” was performed by the one and only Judy Dench for the BBC Proms, which you can hear below.
Judge Louis Walsh spoke up next, saying “you’re incredible,” which prompted Williams to say that her mom and dad would be very proud of her. Without missing a beat, Jason Byrne said, “Do you know who’s proud of you now? The whole of Ireland. That’s who loves you. You’re great.”
Denise Van Outen closed the judges comments by saying, “You sang beautifully. Honestly, you moved me to tears because I just loved everything about you. You’re a lovely, lovely lady, and I’m so pleased Michelle pressed the golden buzzer.” Williams displayed quite a knack for making pithy remarks throughout the segment, which she showed off at this point by saying, “I didn’t even know what that was about. I thought they were going to kill me in a minute; they’re buzzing me here,” he said, getting a good belly laugh from the audience.
The octogenarian’s performance was a hit with viewers at home, with fans adding comments such as “I can’t get over how humble and sweet this woman is. Her voice is incredible and projects such raw and authentic emotion,” and “she had me in tears! Her voice is so moving and powerful. I am so happy Michelle gave her the golden buzzer!”
In the semi-finals, Williams sang Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me,” which again got a standing ovation from the judges. However, the second time around, she did not get enough votes to progress.