Shy Prison Officer Spellbinds Skeptical X-Factor Judges With Beyonce’s Hit Song ‘Listen’

September 5, 2019 Updated: September 10, 2019

When Sam Bailey, a then-35-year-old prison officer from Leicester, United Kingdom, walked into the “X-Factor” audition room, she didn’t believe in herself. However, when she started to sing a well-known Beyonce song, she amazed not only the four judges in the room but the entire world.

Sam decided to audition for the show in 2013 after having worked in prison for several years. As she confessed in her introduction interview, up until that point, she hadn’t attempted to commence a singing career. She said that she lived with her husband, two kids, and a springer spaniel dog. While describing her job, she confessed that her fellow officers often joked around as she tends to sing while working.

Sam said that she considered herself “too old” for this type of competition right before she went to meet the judges.

Upon first entering the room, the woman looked shy and nervous. When the judges asked her what song she was going to sing, she told them it was “Listen” by Beyonce. Indeed, it was a challenging song, and that’s why a couple of the judges looked incredulous when they heard her choice. However, when she began vocalizing those first few lines of the lyrics, everyone in the room went into silence. Sam’s beautiful voice dumbfounded each person sitting at that table. She put in a touching performance.

After she finished singing, the four judges looked absolutely stunned and gave her a standing ovation. One of the judges, singer Nicole Scherzinger exclaimed, “Wow! You’re a prison officer? That’s exactly how that song is supposed to be singed.” Meanwhile, former “Take That” member Garry Barlow said “your voice is incredible!” before thanking Sam for coming on the show.

They then gave her four resounding yeses and told her that she would go to the next stage of the competition.

Who wants to wish Sam Bailey Official good luck tonight?

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No one could have predicted that Sam would actually move on through all the stages of the contest up until the finals. She then ended up being crowned the winner of that year’s season of the X-Factor.

Since that extraordinary win, Sam Bailey has built a successful career as a performing artist. According to the Guardian, she stayed humble and continued living in the same home as before. The artist has done a lot of charitable work, including being an ambassador for Cure Leukemia and as a patron for an NSPCC campaign.

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However, according to an interview she gave to The Guardian in 2017, she has not forgotten her prison officer past. According to her, when she won the X-Factor finale, “the whole prison was banging on their cell doors.” She explained that only happens during special events. Sam said that a lot of her colleagues and even prisoners were very supportive of her and her new career. However, she admitted that sometimes she misses the feeling of camaraderie shared in her old workplace.

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Alluding to a prison officer’s job, Sam said: “The job is not and never has been just about locking people up and talking down to them. It’s not that at all. It’s frustrating when you never hear anyone say just what the job of a prison officer entails.”

Sam is proof that regardless of age and career, sometimes pure talent is all it takes to change your life completely. She walked into the audition room of a popular TV show looking shy, but that one song, with her powerful voice, not only opened up opportunities but also turned her into someone we all can learn from.

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