Today, Shaheen Jafargholi is best known as EastEnders' Shakil Kazemi, the son of Bonnie Langsford’s character Carmel in the hit BBC soap. But back in 2009, the then 12-year-old schoolboy previously wowed the nation after making it to the Britain’s Got Talent final. After walking into the audition room to perform Amy Winehouse’s Valerie, Shaheen was told by a reluctant Simon Cowell that he had: “Got this really wrong,” leading him to ask if he could have another go at singing something else.
Shaheen has been playing Shakil in EastEnders since 2016
After belting out his rendition of Michael Jackson’s ‘Who’s Lovin’ You’, the talented singer received a standing ovation from both the audiences and judges, Simon, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan. The rising star later finished in seventh place. Prior to Michael’s death, Shaheen had even been invited to perform with the pop legend in his This Is It London tour, and later sang at his funeral in 2009.
Shaheen sang at Michael Jackson's funeral in 2009
Since then, Shaheen’s career has gone from strength to strength and he has been portraying Shakil in the popular soap since April 2016. The actor has been in some major storylines since his arrival on the Square, seeing him survive a fatal bus crash, fall in love with Bex Fowler and make friends with the school bully, Keegan Baker – who is currently nominated for Best Newcomer at the British Soap Awards.
His amazing audition wowed the audience - and saw him reach the final
The EastEnders star has no doubt been enduring a busy schedule of late, with the soap’s action-packed Spring trailer, teasing a heart-racing few months on Albert Square. Notable moments from the preview include the return of both Mick and Linda Carter, Dot Cotton’s life hanging in balance as she is left unconscious on the floor of her kitchen, and Denise Fox collapsing in a classroom following her money struggles – which have resulted in her being unable to afford food. One resident will also find themselves pregnant, with a mysterious hand holding up a positive test in dramatic footage – with many fans guessing it to be 16-year-old Bex – could Shakil be the father?