24-year-old Jai, who blew away the audience with his performance of Josh Groban’s To Where You Are, won £100,000 and the opportunity to perform before the Queen at this year’s Royal Variety Performance.
McDowell, a disability support worker from Ayrshire, was completely shocked to learn that he was the winner.
“I feel absolutely amazing, fantastic… it’s so much more,” said Jai, a singer who developed his talent in local karaoke contests.
After the winner was announced, Simon Cowell commented: “We said tonight there was going to be a shock result. Not doing him any disservice but he [Jai] was not one of the favourites coming in, but tonight we can feel he nailed the song, he came in believing he could win. The public, always trust their decision, and I think he’s a worthy winner, congratulations.”
Fellow judge Amanda Holden admitted she had been rooting for 12-year-old Ronan.
“I’m not disappointed of course I’m thrilled but I have to say I really wanted Ronan to win,” she said.
After being announced the runner-up, 12-year-old Parke, who received a standing ovation for his rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s Because Of You, said: “I would like to say thank you to everyone who voted. Thank you so much. Congratulations Jai as well.”
On waiting to hear the result, McDowall commented: “It’s murder. Absolute murder because everything going through your head and just don’t know what’s going to happen and Ronan’s such a talented wee guy that I honestly thought I was out. I honestly thought he was the winner.”