Britain’s Got Talent: Audition shows begin!

The second series of Britain’s Got Talent. has made its debut, with the first of seven weeks worth of auditions from across the UK.

Presenters Ant and Dec have returned to the show, along with judges Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden. The trio have the job of choosing which acts to put through to the next round, where they will face the public vote.

The eventual series winner will have the opportunity to perform in front of the Prince Of Wales at this year’s Royal Variety Performance – and hopefully follow the success of the 2007 series winner Paul Potts.

Potts, a phone salesman turned opera singer, wowed judges and public alike last year. Since winning the show, he has gone on to top the charts in 15 countries.

However, things got off to a rocky start this year, as aspiring keyboard player Michael Machell took to the stage to deliver his own reworking of the Star Wars theme.

Cowell described it as “probably the worst piece of music I have ever heard in my life” – but Amanda and Piers both gave Michael the thumbs-up, sending him through to the next round.

And things didn’t get much better for Simon, who dismissed one act after another.

“I was hoping to find the next Shirley Bassey or Tom Jones, and I got a yodelling cowboy from Cardiff,” he sighed as security officer Pete Pearce showed off his talent.

However, it wasn’t all bad news. Contortionist Iona wowed all the judges at the Cardiff auditions, with Simon calling her act “spellbinding”.

At the Manchester auditions, club entertainer Craig Harper also won over the panel with his impersonations of Boyzone members Ronan Keating and Stephen Gateley.

Teenager Kate Nicholas and her talented dog Gin were also a hit with their “canine freestyle” routine. “I think we are going to have to consider the prospect of a non-human winning Britain’s Got Talent,” Piers told her.

London, however, produced some decidedly odd acts, including pensioner Joan who laid on a bed of nails and broke paving slabs over her next door neighbour’s back – and was promptly rejected by the judges.

And 12-year-old contortionist Daniel wasn’t too popular either, with Amanda saying his act made her “feel sick”.

Meanwhile would-be pop star Donald Bell-Gam was described by Simon as “the worst singer we have ever had on Britain’s Got Talent” – although he did win a fan in Piers Morgan. “The thing about you is you’re so bad you’re brilliant,” he told Donald. “I could listen to you for hours.”

However, electric string quartet Scala impressed the judges, with Simon calling them “phenomenal” before putting them through to the next round.

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