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Simon Cowell has defended Britain’s Got Talent finalists Attraction, saying they deserve to win Saturday’s final – despite not being natives of this country.

The Hungarian shadow theatre troupe have been favourites to take the series title since they appeared in the very first auditions show of the series back in April.

Their success on the programme has sparked a backlash from some viewers who have said that the show should be about showcasing homegrown talent – but Simon said it made no difference.

“I think it’s testament to how we are as a country,” he told the Mirror.

“We want everyone to do well, no matter where they’re from. It’s a positive, not a negative.”

He also addressed viewers’ complaints about professional acts taking centre stage in the show, with cruise ship singers the Johnson Brothers and impressionist Francine Lewis – who has previously appeared in TV sketch shows – both in the final.

“I don’t like rules,” Simon said. “I think if you take the rules away, which we pretty much have, then the competition is open to anyone.”

He added: Whether you are professional or amateur, you enter this competition because you need a break. Also remember it’s not me, it’s the public that vote.”

Elsewhere, the mogul told Steve Wright’s Radio 2 show that despite tipping Attraction and teenage comedian Jack Carroll to take the series crown, he had no idea who would win – and that there could be a surprise in the offing.

“I think what’s going to happen on the night is someone could surprise us with a fantastic performance,” he said.

“This is what you always hope for in a final. Of course you’ve got favourites but I think how they perform and what they do on the night could determine who is going to win so it may not be as predictable as we think.”

The Britain’s Got Talent final kicks off at 7.30pm on ITV, when the eleventh ‘wild card’ act chosen by the judges will also be revealed.