‘One of the best’ live show acts seen on Britain’s Got Talent wins spot in final

A South African opera singer and a South Korean group who performed taekwondo stunts are the first two acts through to the final of Britain’s Got Talent.

Judge Simon Cowell described the production by Ssaulabi Performance Troupe as “one of the best” live acts he’d seen in the history of the ITV talent show.

Meanwhile, singer Innocent Masuku, who wowed the judges in his January audition before getting married, said “this is my year” after he received the most votes from the public and was automatically sent through to Sunday’s final.

Dog act The Trickstars missed out on the chance to continue to compete for the £250,000 prize and a spot at the Royal Variety Performance, after the judges unanimously chose to send through the Ssaulabi Performance Troupe.

The taekwondo group, who said they practise five hours a day, received the golden buzzer from hosts Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly in their first audition, meaning they were automatically sent through to the next round.

After their semi-final performance, Cowell said: “If that was a movie, that would have taken about a week to shoot, literally, it would.

“And the fact that you did the whole thing live in about two-and-a-half minutes, says everything about you.

“I forget how many years we’ve been doing this now actually, but this is actually one of the best live show performances I’ve ever seen on this show.”

Judge Alesha Dixon described opera singer Masuku as “the one to beat”, while fellow judge Bruno Tonioli said his act was “flawless”.

Cowell said: “How snobby classical music is, I mean it really is, it is just awful and you deserve this opportunity because you are incredibly talented, you performed like a lead, you have that presence about you and your control over the song, everything about it for me was immaculate.”

The first live semi-final of this year saw Lucy Heath and her five dogs perform as The Trickstars to the Charlie And The Chocolate Factory themed dance.

The dog trainer made the final of the talent show eight years ago, but missed a spot in the final line-up following the judges’ unanimous vote.

Comedian Bikoon! and his “magic” bag failed several times to perform a simple trick, which saw Dixon, Tonioli and Holden press their red buzzer indicating they wanted the performance to end.

Cowell was also visibly upset at the end of the performance when the magic bag opened to reveal a man inside, to which McPartlin joked the pair were a “Japanese Ant & Dec”.

“I’m really upset, I think the bag should have remained a mystery,” Cowell said.

Holden and Dixon also pressed their red buzzer for air guitar act Sven Smith.

“Call me old-fashioned but I prefer a guitar and a microphone,” Dixon said, while Holden questioned his place in the semi-final.

Tonioli’s golden buzzer recipient Taryn Charles received a much warmer response from the judges, after the singer performed a rendition of Lose Control by Teddy Swims.

Cowell described it as a “genius choice of song”, adding: “I genuinely don’t think you could have done any more”, as well as calling it “beautifully raw”.

However, the judge was less impressed with his own golden buzzer act, rollerskating couple Duo Stardust from Ukraine.

“It wasn’t as good as the audition, I think you let the production overshadow your talent tonight which is a real shame – we lost the focus of you,” he said.

The pair finished their performance picking Tonioli from the panel and spinning him high into the air, which he described as “scary”.

Meanwhile, Cowell said he preferred the first half of 11-year-old dancer Trey Braine’s performance, but also revealed he recently used the schoolboy to exemplify “someone I believe has star potential – when you’ve got it, you’ve got it”.

The cast of Disney’s The Lion King also performed on the show, to celebrate 30 years since the release of the film.

Britain’s Got Talent live semi-finals will air each day until Friday at 8pm, with Sunday’s final at 7.30pm on ITV1 and ITVX.