Simon Cowell has issued an apology to oft-overlooked Britain’s Got Talent winner Jai McDowall for saying he wasn’t a “genuine star”.
Jai will be seen returning to the ITV talent show as part of the current Champions series on Saturday, and ahead of the episode, Simon told of how he had eaten his previous harsh words.
In an interview with The Sun, the music mogul said: “I did feel when I saw him again that he’s the definition of a proud man. He didn’t sulk – he just came back to prove a point. And he did.
“I knew I had to apologise to him at that moment. It gave me a chance to say something publicly I should have said some time ago.
“But it was also the fact he had the guts to come back and compete, knowing I wasn’t that supportive the first time he was on the show. I thought, ‘Good for you – you did very well’. I think he’ll get a lot of work off the back of this show.”
During Jai’s comeback episode, he receives a standing ovation from Simon following his performance.
“You have no idea how much that means – thank you,” Jai says. “Thank you very much, Simon, for everything the show has given me.
“It has given me the lifestyle I can be happy about and the ability to follow my dreams and I am so thankful for that.”
Jai won the fifth series of Britain’s Got Talent in 2011, beating child singer Ronan Parke in the final.
His original audition was judged by Amanda Holden, David Hasselhoff and Michael McIntyre, with Simon only returning for the live shows.
Jai was recruited to take part in the Champions series after 2009 runner-up Susan Boyle dropped out of the competition due to scheduling conflicts.
A spokesperson previously said: “Susan has a busy year ahead with lots of performances coming up, trips to the US, headlining BBC Proms in September, as well as preparing for her upcoming tour.
“She is enjoying celebrating the decade since she first appeared on BGT and her life changing for the better.
“She loved being part of America’s Got Talent: The Champions and, whether she is able to make it or not, wishes the contestants taking part on BGT Champions the best of luck.”
Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions airs on Saturday at 8.30pm on ITV.
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.