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Simon Cowell has admitted his disappointment with the animal acts on this year’s series of Britain’s Got Talent – dubbing them a disaster.

The 2012 series gave the world Ashleigh and Pudsey – the first animal performer ever to win the contest – with the mogul hoping it would encourage others to bring talented pets to the stage.

However he said ahead of this year’s live semi-finals that this year’s hopefuls – including a dancing raccoon and a painting donkey – just hadn’t matched up.

“There have been some really weird acts this year,” he told the Mirror.

“Unfortunately the worst have been the animal acts. I thought after Pudsey we’d get some brilliant animals but it has just been a complete disaster.”

Simon added that the decision on which 45 acts to put through to the this year’s live shows had not always been unanimous.

“There are a few acts I didn’t think should go through but I got outvoted,” he revealed. “So these semis are going to be very interesting.

“There are seven or eight acts with a real chance of winning.”

The show will be screened on Sunday this weekend, making way for ITV’s live coverage of the UEFA Champions League final – with the final 45 revealed after the last batch of auditions have been shown.

The first of Britain’s Got Talent‘s live heats will follow on Bank Holiday Monday, continuing across the rest of the week ahead of the final on June 8.