It was an emotional night on Britain’s Got Talent on Saturday as a nine-year-old singer burst into tears midway through his performance.
As the auditions reached their penultimate week, with highlights from London, Birmingham and Cardiff, the strain proved too much for youngster Malakai Paul, who was unable to control his emotions while singing the Beyonce track Listen.
However he regained his composure after being comforted on stage by his mother and Alesha Dixon, who offered words of encouragement about his performance.
And after being offered a second chance by the judges he made it through the performance, and won himself a place in the next round.
Simon Cowell called Malaki “brave” and added, “You got off to a bad start but you picked up and people are going to like you a lot.”
Malaki was one of a number of young performers in a show which saw the under 18s take centre stage.
Others who impressed the judges included 11-year-old Molly Rainford from Essex, who delivered a note-perfect rendition of One Night Only from the musicval Dreamgirls.
“You have an amazing voice and an amazing presence,” Carmen Electra told her, while Simon added, “I like you because you’ve got soul. I really do believe that.”
It was a good night for young performers with several other junior acts making a big impact, among them dance troupe Nu Sxool – who won the judges and audience over with their school uniforms and energetic routine.
“You’re sort of like the St Trinians of dance,” Simon told them, “and I quite like that idea.”
Girl group B Minor, whose members are all aged between 13 and 14, also fared well and won a place in the next round following their acapella performance. Alesha was particularly impressed, calling them “definitely the best girl group we have seen so far”.
And 16-year-old comedian Callum Oakley – who has been writing comedy material since he was 13 – also won a place in the next round, with David Walliams describing him as “brilliant”.
However the show brought its usual array of offbeat performances, including that of Graham Blackledge, who divided the panel with his keyboard playing and performance of La Bamba.
Simon called the act “hideous” and compared it to “like eating vanilla ice cream with a sausage” but the 42-year-old won over David and Alesha as well as the audience – and was promptly voted through to the next round.
And possibly the oddest act of the night was performer Geisha Davis – who startled the judges with her spooky make-up and weirdly offbeat rendition of Humpty Dumpty.
“I was petrified, you were like a ghost or something,” Alesha told her, while David said, “I wouldn’t say I liked it but I would like to see what you’ll do next.”
However both guest judge Carmen Electra and Simon Cowell gave the 28-year-old their seal of approval – and she made it through to the next round.
The final auditions show of the series will be screened next Saturday, when the acts who will proceed to next week’s live semi-finals will be revealed.