X Factor USA: Simon Cowell rips off Gamu Nhengu for Rachel Crow’s ‘Walking On Sunshine’

Young Rachel Crow took to the X Factor USA stage last night and shone with her version of ‘Walking On Sunshine’ by Katrina and the Waves.

Or was it her version?

After the 13 year old singer from Longmont, Colorado performed the energetic number on the hit Fox talent show, Simon Cowell claimed that the adaptation he made to the lyrics for Rachel’s performance was him ‘being inventive’ but we’d claim that actually, it was him being a copycat!

Rachel’s version of the classic track may have sounded different and new to many American viewers, but us British fans know that it is practically a complete copy of Gamu Nhengu’s X Factor audition for the ITV series last year.

For her 2010 performance, the Scottish / Zimbabwean teenager changed the word ‘mailbox’ in the first verse to ‘telephone’ and also reworked the lyrics and tempo in the chorus so instead of singing ‘I’m walking on Sunshine’, she sang ‘You’re my sunshine….woooo hoo.’ In fact after her tryout, Simon congratulated her on doing ‘something different’ with one of his ‘worst songs ever.’

Crow’s phrasing last night and her style almost mimicked Nhengu’s word for word, only really her backing track and stage production were altered.

We kind of see this as X Factor’s final slap in the face to Gamu Nhengu – first she auditions and gets dropped at judges houses in favour of second rate rapper Cher Lloyd, then as a result of her massive exposure she faced deportation from the UK and now Cowell takes her signature interpretation of Walking On Sunshine and gives it to a teenager on X Factor USA without a word of credit.


You can compare the two performance videos to see what we’re getting at, but wouldn’t it be nice if just for once, Simon Cowell would give credit where credit is due and stop pretending to be personally creative?

Leave your comments below and check out our full review of Rachel Crow’s performance (which we totally loved by the way!) here.

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18 Responses to “X Factor USA: Simon Cowell rips off Gamu Nhengu for Rachel Crow’s ‘Walking On Sunshine’”

  1. Fiona says:

    When I listened to Rachel’s version of the song, I immediately thought of Gamu. Yes, Simon has copied what Gamu did with the song. However, it just proves Rachel is no Gamu talent-wise: I found her performance completely pedestrian and dull. Yes she can sing, yes she’s quite cute, but the X Factor’s missing for me.

  2. Charlotte says:

    Thirteen yr. old Rachel Crow was fantastic last night. She’s really talented. Just watch her bootcamp audition of “If I were a boy.” Then how can anyone in their right mind find her performance “completely pedestrian and dull? Whatever!

  3. Silvio says:

    I agree. Simon is as inventive as a clock. The song was clearly a rip off, and Simon is stupid if he thinks no one noticed. I don’t care much about the Rachel, either.

  4. Stumpy says:

    It’s just a publicity stunt – xfactor USA is doing rubbish in the ratings, so Cowell thinks he can boost it by getting it into the headlines with this Gamu rip-off. How low can this loser go?

  5. Karma Luxe says:

    he also ripped off for rachel…..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kBQ8DgkyFk this version and his own contestants p.r. shot from x factor uk..http://i.imgur.com/976PZ.jpg

    i guess he thinks americans are idiots….

  6. Dan Ellis says:

    simon cowell is a burglar

  7. Scubaroo says:

    I cannot believe that Simon Cowell had the audacity of using Gamu’s version of the song, after the hell she has been through after being dumped by Cheryl last year in favour of the other twits! I agree it probably was a publicity stunt, but for what benefit? Certainly not Gamu’s unless she got paid for it…hmmmm?

  8. AMER says:

    I recognized Gamu’s version the second I heard Rachel singing. It didn’t make me love Rachel – it made me go look up Gamu’s original version online, instead.

  9. Synthia says:

    I’m livid about this. Simon is scum to lie and claim credit for Gamu’s arrangement. She sounds WAY BETTER than Rachel Crow, from whom I would never buy music.

    Also, I am saddened about what has happened to Gamu. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    • kara says:

      I too was disgusted that he took full credit for Gamu’s inventiveness with the song. i cant beleive the gall of some people, who have the media world on their plate. It would show him in a more congratulatory light if he gave credit where credit was due, especially to Gamu. i have watched religiously all xfactors, mainly cause i love the singing and success stories. in fact i have scowered the net to see if anyone else had noticed the complete copycat/lie that burnt bright from Cowles mouth. Surley there should be something done about this and cant it be illegal. If not he should be humiliated in some way in front of millions. He is never shy about doing it others. I feel disappointed as a viewer and ashamed and embarrased……

  10. Karen says:

    I noticed Gamu’s lyrics right away too and couldn’t believe it when Simon seemed to pass them off as his own.I do remember however, a story after “gamugate” ,about Cowell helping Gamu to fight deportation with his lawyers. So maybe he’s in touch with her and done the decent thing. Then again maybe he’s a megalomaniac who doesn’t care who he uses in his all-consuming hunger for fame and world domination !!!

  11. Melina says:

    I was shocked that Simon Cowell would rip off Gamu! This has completely put me off the X Factor! He should be ashamed of himself!

  12. Jessica says:

    I noticed the lyrics were gamu’s too and searched the net for this story to see if anyone noticed or talked about it. I thought that after the performance and after nicole’s comment he would say something like “these lyrics came from an UK X factor contestant” or something like that but NO! he just said he was being inventive…thats so sad I would be so mad if I had wrote the lyrics and just heard that on one of the most viewed TV Live shows in the world, and having no credit for it.

  13. Dom says:

    Oh my goodness I’m furious! How can Simon give his x factor audiences so little credit in thinking that we wouldn’t notice that firstly last week he completely ripped off Cher Lloyd’s version of Just Be Good to Me with Simone, and now this week ripping off Gamu Nhengu’s version of Walking on Sunshine for Rachel. And then he has the gall to say “he’s being inventive”. If I were Cher or Gamu I would be suing his ass off for copyright.

  14. Femi says:

    I purposely came on to see if anyone else was talking about what I was thinking and lo and behold! I have great respect for Simon, but that silly stunt he pullled was just below the belt! Most of us watched Gamu and heard her say she had changed the lyrics a bit; we also heard Simons compliment on what was one of his worse songs. A credit in Gamus direction would have won him a lot of respect.

    • Erin says:

      I went looking for the same reason! I can’t believe Simon taking all the credit for all these rip offs. Drew did Diana Vickers’ “With or Without You” and David Cook’s “Billie Jean” too. Can’t stand him.

  15. Erin says:

    Yes, he ripped off Gamu with Rachel and “Walking on Sunshine,” and then ripped off Diana Vickers for Drew’s “With or Without You,” and then David Cook’s “Billie Jean,” once again for Drew. Soooo inventive. And of course he is taking credit for all of it.

  16. rh says:

    wow, you guys are all idiots. he didn’t say he took credit, nor did he say it was his version. he said ITS INVENTIVE. meaning Gamu is inventive. Nicole was giving him credit to which he didn’t retort, which he should of.