Ronan Parke became the first performer to win a place in Saturday’s Britain’s Got Talent final, on last night’s live semi fianl show.
The schoolboy singer bowled over the judging panel – Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Michael McIntyre and David Hasselhoff – with his emotional performance of Adele’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’ on the ITV1 show.
Simon – who made his big return to the series last night – told the Justin Bieber lookalike:
“You utterly nailed that. I was nervous we were going to get 12-year-olds doing Justin Bieber impersonations but you’re not that kind of singer.”
Pianist Paul Gbegbaje was also put through to the final stage by the public vote for his performance of a medley of songs including Alicia Keys’ ‘New York’ and Mariah Carey’s ‘Hero’ after landing in the top three alongside stunt cyclist Joe Oakley.
Simon admitted although Joe’s act was more impressive, he saw more long-term potential in 19-year-old Paul.
He explained: “Joe, your act tonight was better and I think Paul, you were slightly hampered by song choices but I can see a lot of potential in you so it’s a tricky one.”
Among those who were booted off the show in the semi-final stage were raunchy dancers Girls Roc and Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator Stuart Arnold.
Meanwhile, hosts Ant and Dec took the opportunity to poke fun at Simon, who reportedly axed Cheryl Cole from the US version of ‘The X Factor’ because of her strong Geordie accent.
They joked: “Before we start Simon, can you understand our accents OK?”
The red-faced TV boss brushed off the comment, saying: “Why, has something happened? Sorry I’ve been away.”
A source on set told the Daily Mirror newspaper: “It didn’t take long before Ant and Dec mentioned the elephant in the room, and Simon looked really awkward and uncomfortable.
“He doesn’t often break into a sweat, but mentioning Geordie accents certainly had that effect on him.”