Uxbridge College A Level student Sanjna Vekaria’s vocal performance was dubbed ‘better than the X Factor final’ after she sang Feeling Good, the Nina Simone track recently made a hit by Michael Buble, in front of a television audience of 10 million on Michael McIntyre’s Big Show.
Sanjna’s appearance as the Unexpected Star on the BBC1 show ran head to head with the X Factor final, prompting a twitterstorm of comparisons.
Sanjna (18), who went through a series of BBC auditions which she was told were for a talent agency before appearing on the show, said: “Social media has gone a bit crazy - lots of people were comparing me with the X Factor final and saying I was better and it felt really good.
“When I woke up the morning after filming the show, I literally had to slap myself in the face because I couldn’t believe it. But when I saw the shoes that I’d worn in the corner of the room, I knew it had been real.”
Sanjna, who is studying History, Psychology and Sociology at College and practises taekwondo in her spare time, found herself face to face with Michael in the guise of a grandmaster, after being asked to teach at a fake training centre set up behind the theatre.
“I was dressed to teach taekwondo and definitely wasn’t expecting to go on television, so 10 million people haven’t just seen me sing, they’ve also seen me without make-up!”
Sanjna, who works part-time in M&S in Pinner and had to miss watching part of the show when it was broadcast due to her shift, was secretly nominated to take part by her mother Chhaya, who was in the audience with around 30 friends and family.
Sanjna, who sings regularly at local events and Westfield shopping centre in Shepherds Bush said: “I realised there was something a bit odd going on in the run up, because the ‘talent agency’ people were so nice and they are never normally nice. There were also things like me being at my uncle’s one Saturday night beforehand and Michael’s show being on television, and my mum painting my nails the night before filming when she hasn’t done that since I was six years old.
“I actually wasn’t nervous at all when it came to performing, anyone who sings has thought about doing it in their dreams, and as I only had an hour to get ready I didn’t have time to get nervous. I didn’t know the song though - I had been asked before if I could sing a list of songs and I’d said yes even though I couldn’t, because I thought I could learn them in time if I needed to. Luckily I had an autocue though.
“Since the show I have been working with a couple of producers and been given more work and I hope I will be able to build a career singing. People have also been noticing me, looking at me a bit odd and asking things like where I went to school - I don’t know if I like it or not!”