Collabro have won Britain’s Got Talent 2014 after their “faultless” performance of Stars from the musical Les Misérable.

The five-piece male vocal group from England’s North East leapt for joy after Ant and Dec announced they had won the £250,000 cash prize and a chance to perform at the Royal Variety Performance later this year.

“We are so lucky to be here. Please vote for us,” the guys said after their final performance. And the public did.

Collabro knocked the much-fancied teen rap duo Bars and Melody into third place, with opera singer Lucy Kay coming second.

The group – Richard Hadfield, 20 (labourer), Michael Augur, 23 (sales assistant), Matt Pagen, 20 (kitchen salesman), Thomas Redgrave, 24 (works in Japanese restaurant) and Jamie Lambert, 23 (works in hospital) – performed the same song they sang at their first audition but, as Simon Cowell told them afterwards, they were much better.

“This was a step up,” Simon said. “You have steel in your eyes when you sing. I could tell you want to win. And I like people who want to be winners.”

Collabro were the 10th act to perform out of the 11 finalists and after their powerful singing, David Walliams told them: “Just when we thought the show couldn’t get any better you come along. You couldn’t fault that. It was perfection.”

Amanda Holden agreed. “That was stunning,” she told the lads. “A faultless performance.”

And Alesha Dixon was no less enthusiastic. “The whole way through your performance I kept thinking, ‘Go on, boys’. I could feel your passion.”

Clearly the public felt it, too.

“Singing’s all we want to do,” Collabro said before their live final performance. “Before Christmas, we were wondering when we would get our break.”

Well, now they’ve got it.

There could only be one winner on the night, but there were several stand-out performances.

Lucy Kay, the 25-year-old opera singer from Kirkby in Lancashire, had Simon applauding during her performance of Nessun Dorma.

“Tonight you sang arguably the hardest song to sing,” Simon said. “And you shone like a diamond.”

Simon’s Golden Buzzer act Bars and Melody – Charlie Lenehan, 15 and Leondre Devries, 13 – repeated their audition performance of Hopeful by Twista, but this time with a choir.

“You’re the nicest, sweetest kids I’ve ever met,” Simon told them. “I hope my little Eric turns out like you.”

“I think we could be looking at the winners,” said David.

But they weren’t.

Fourth place went to Jack Pack, who sang Feeling Good.

“I think you just stole Michael Bublé’s crown,” Amanda told the guys.

“That was the best performance you’ve given so far,” Simon told them. “To do what you do you’ve got to have confidence and swagger and you have it.”

Canadian magician Darcy Oake had the “wow” factor with his stunt, “the most dangerous ever performed on Britain’s Got Talent”, Ant and Dec told the audience.

And it was impressive. Darcy was dangled upside-down in a straight-jacket and had to get out of it before 16 serrated blades sliced into him. He had 52 seconds and, obviously, he did it, or the Britain’s Got Talent final would have been a very different story.

“My goodness, Mr Darcy, you just get better and better,” Alesha told him when he was safely back on his feet.

Still, Darcy could only place fifth.

Essex boy James Smith, 15, came sixth. It was just James and his guitar for his performance of Try a Little Tenderness and the judges gave him a standing ovation.

“I really admire that you’ve come out with no gimmick,” Simon told James. “You did great.”

The judges’ Wild Card act, Jon Clegg, came seventh, with his impressions of Ant and Dec and The Simpsons – plus a cheeky impersonation of semi-finalist Jenson Zhu, the comedian who was so bad he was funny.

“You are the epitome of variety,” Amanda told Jon.

Eighth place went to violinist Lettice Rowbotham, who surprised the judges and audience by singing as well as playing her violin.

“Not sure the singing was a good thing,” Simon told her. “It was a bit of a distraction.”

Unsurprisingly, David disagreed with Simon.

“You’re a wonderful operatic singer as well and you didn’t even tell us!” David said. “Fantastic.”

Amanda’s Golden Buzzer act, salsa dancers Paddy and Nico, came ninth. Paddy, 79, was again thrown around the stage by her dance partner – despite recently suffering some injuries during training.

“I feel so proud of you,” Amanda told Paddy.

“You’ve proved to all of us that life is to be lived,” added Alesha.

Dance group The Addict Initiative were the first act to perform in the finals, but came second to last in the public vote.

“We are the dark side of dance,” they said.

But maybe too dark for the viewers. Amanda loved them, though.

“You’re a dance troupe that belongs to shows like Game of Thrones,” she told them.

It was another dance act that was voted last by the public: Yanis Marshall, Arnaud and Mehdi, the three French guys who strut their stuff in high heels.

Simon was not impressed and buzzed them halfway through their routine… And the other judges demanded to know why.

“I didn’t think it was very good,” Simon explained. “The whole thing was too intense. Not fun. Not as good as you did before. And you’re not going to win.”

And he was right.