Britain's Got Talent judges in love with Denise Leigh before she started singing

Denise Leigh salutes the audience -Credit:ITV
Denise Leigh salutes the audience -Credit:ITV

North Staffordshire opera singer Denise Leigh had both the Britain's Got Talent judges and audience in the palm of her hand on last night's show - and that was even before her astonishing on-stage performance. The Audley-born soprano, who first shot to fame after winning Channel 4 reality show 'Operatunity' back in 2003, had the crowd and judges - Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Bruno Tonioli - howling with laughter as she shared snippets of her incredible life story.

Laughter was soon replaced by tears - with a sobbing Bruno describing himself as 'a mess' - as Denise and her partner, pianist Stefan Andrusyschyn, left everyone astonished by their spellbinding performance of Climb Every Mountain from The Sound of Music. Prior to heading out to the stage, the couple had been discussing the £250,000 prize money on offer to the winner of Britain's Got Talent.

Denise mentioned going on a family holiday given they haven't been away for several years. Stefan tells Denise they would be looking to pay off their mortgage - to which she replies: "God Stefan you are such a stick in the mud!"

READ: Britain's Got Talent's Bruno Tonioli in tears over North Staffordshire opera singer's incredible life story Denise Leigh will peform with partner, pianist Stefan Andrusyschyn, on tonight's show

READ: Who is Denise Leigh? Britain's Got Talent soprano's life story as Bruno Tonioli left sobbing Denise Leigh, from Audley, received a standing ovation from the judges on BGT 20 years after winning Channel 4’s Operatunity

The pair are then escorted onto the stage by presenters Ant and Dec with Simon asking them how they are. Denise has the crowd in hysterics when she answers: "We're a bit nervous - I need a wee but I'm fine."

They are then asked about how they met.

Stefan explained: "We were both involved in an awards ceremony and Denise was presenting. I was the guy playing piano for two hours while everyone has a three-course meal."

The couple were given a standing ovation -Credit:ITV
The couple were given a standing ovation -Credit:ITV

Denise added: "We met on the Tube train going there and I didn't realise he was the bloke playing for me that evening. He leaned over and asked me for the time. It was 2006 so you know people did that back then! What's the chances of a blind man asking a blind woman on a train for the time?!"

Simon then quizzed the couple on why they had decided to come on the show this year.

"As performers the last few years haven't been a lot of fun and just as everyone was getting back into work I was diagnosed with cancer," explained Denise. "So I was having chemo and having half of my favourite boob taken off!"

Even while reflecting on a difficult time, Denise's sense of humour shone through with the crowd lapping it up. And she wasn't finished there.

"I've had a clear scan and my hair has grown back," she told everyone."

Stefan added: "And she got a whole new head of hair that was a completely different colour and curly."

Denise and her partner Stefan Andrusyschyn with their son Dimitri and guide dog, Tilly -Credit:ITV
Denise and her partner Stefan Andrusyschyn with their son Dimitri and guide dog, Tilly -Credit:ITV

Denise then had the audience and judges in stitches again, saying: "Yeah I was a ginge before!"

Having heard howls of laughter, the venue fell silent as Denise went on to produce an incredible vocal performance that reduced Bruno to tears and resulted in a standing ovation from all those inside - including Denise's two older sons - Michael, 28, and Sam, 26 - from a previous relationship.

The couple's 11-year-old son, Dimitri, then came on to the stage with the family guide dog, Tilly. Dimitri, when asked by Amanda what he thought of his parents' performance, described it as 'very impressive'.

Simon was in agreement, telling them: "I'm so happy you made the decision to come on our show. I think you're both amazing people. Your whole attitude is actually quite unbelievable."

Alesha described the couple as being so 'naturally funny' she thought they going to be a comedy act. "That vocal was faultless," she added. "It was beautiful."

Bruno told them he was 'inspired', explaining: "I've learnt something today about your positive state of mind, your ability to have a sense of humour about yourself. You all need to know that - you're an example. I admire you."

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