Janey Cutler was 80 years old when she stepped onto the stage of Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) and knocked the socks off the judges. The Glaswegian great-grandmother had been entertaining in local pubs and clubs since raising her seven children. When friends talked her into auditioning for the popular show, she chose the perfect song, the English version of Charles Dumont’s and Michel Vaucaire’s famous “Non, je ne regrette rien”.
As always happens in the heartwarming episodes of these talent shows, judges’ faces lit up and the audience went wild. Cutler’s powerhouse, lived-in voice rocked the hall. When Simon Cowell asked her how many years she had waited to do that, she replied, “I’m just thankful I am here tonight.”
Chosen as one of the finalists, Cutler was compared to Susan Boyle, who shot to stardom in the show. Cutler went on to the BGT finals, toured Britain with the top talent and even recorded an album with the Chelsea Pensioners.
She became a media darling, interviewed by newspapers, appearing on television and meeting some of her entertainment idols. She came ninth in the finals and then happily retired to her cozy home, basking in the memories. At 82 she died in her sleep.
Cutler’s time in the spotlight was a short but blazing finale to her life. She died a happy woman, with the courage to pursue a dream at an age when most of us would probably say, “I’m too old.” She gives me hope.
Thanks, Naomi Baltuck, for reminding about this gutsy, talented woman.