Adele has dominated headlines over the last week thanks to the release of her massive, record-breaking third album 25. She’s appeared on Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, sold millions of copies of the album, and performed at Radio City Music Hall for an NBC special. But one of her best promotional bits came when the Grammy-winner pretended not to be herself at all.
On Friday, the BBC aired a Graham Norton-hosted special, Adele at the BBC, which featured a hilarious, viral segment where the 27-year-old fooled a bunch of Adele impersonators into thinking she, too, was an Adele impersonator.
So what was it like to be in the room with the singer? “She was doing this whole nervous thing, and I was like, ‘Oh this poor thing! I’ll try to chat and she’ll calm down so she wont be so nervous,’” one of the impersonators, Talullah Windmill, 28 (pictured above, left), tells EW of the segment, which was filmed in October. “I did think she was strange, though. She said she’d been doing [Adele impersonations] for four years, but she was wearing these long gloves and Adele had never worn gloves like that before.”
Windmill says she and the other impersonators had been approached to participate in a documentary about tribute artists, with the pilot episode focusing on Adele. When she went to the taping, she wound up in the back of the line near the real-life Adele (pretending to be a woman named Jenny) and another woman, who was in on the joke. “I was so naive,” Windmill says. “Honestly I didn’t think there was anything suspicious about her. She was wearing those prosthetics, and they looked so real. You’d never think someone’s face was not their face.”
But Windmill was one of the first impersonators to realize “Jenny” was actually Adele. “You can see me jump forward in my seat being like, ‘What! There’s something going on.’ As soon as I heard her voice I knew something was up. It took me a few seconds to make sure that it was her voice.”
Once filming wrapped, Adele gladly hung out with her doppelgängers. “It was quite a magical moment,” says Windmill, a native of Bath, England, who has been impersonating the singer for five years. “We were all really emotional and singing along. Adele’s not intimidating, she’s so cool and normal. We just had a massive laugh.”