When Carphone Warehouse salesman Paul Potts first strolled on stage in front of an expectant Britain’s Got Talent audience, you could spot the cynicism in Simon Cowell’s eye. But as soon as Paul opened his mouth and began singing Nessum Dorma, his operatic warble won over the judges, beginning a whirlwind journey that led to him being crowned BGT’s first winner. Six years – and two top five albums – later, we find Potts still singing following his platinum debut and worldwide tour across 85 cities. The YouTube clip of his first audition continues to garner attention, currently standing at a whopping 112 million views, with Paul’s story attracting the attention of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein who has just produced a biopic of the Welsh singer starring James Corden.
George Sampson (2008)
Who could forget cute little 14-year-old George Sampson whose Singin’ in the Rain remix won him the adoration of the public and the Britain’s Got Talent title back in 2008. But it hasn’t been an easy ride for the youngster… Now 19, he has dipped his fingers in many pies, from fronting Natwest campaigns to appearing on stage. But it was his reinvention as a singer that saw his fortunes nosedive when his single peaked at number 30 and Simon Cowell duly dumped him. Since then, he’s turned his hand to acting, making his cinema debut in StreetDance 3D before landing roles in Waterloo Road and Mount Pleasant.
Everyone was talking about Susan Boyle in the lead up to the 2009 Britain’s Got Talent final, that is until Diversity’s gag-packed dance routine stole victory from her clutches in a dramatic finale. Formed in 2007, the eight-strong crew have enjoyed a comfortable post-BGT career since toppling SuBo, touring in 2010 and again this year. On top of a couple of high-profile appearances carrying the Olympic torch and performing for Gordon Brown, leader Ashley Banjo has lent his expertise to the judging panel of Sky1’s Got To Dance and the group made their feature film debut alongside George Sampson and fellow BGT act Flawless in StreetDance 3D.
Gymnastic troupe Spelbound claimed the fourth Britain’s Got Talent title back in 2010 but their Royal Variety Performance was marred by the protesters who sent Prince Charles and Camilla packing. Originally made up of seven boys and six girls aged between 12 and 24, the troupe are almost unrecognisable in their current formation with just four founding members remaining. But despite the constant changes to their line-up, Spelbound enjoyed a busy 2012, becoming the first act to perform at the new Olympic Stadium before appearing twice at the closing ceremony in front of a TV audience of 26.3 million.
Jai McDowall (2011)
Jai’s post-BGT story is not a happy one. After snatching victory from young favourite Ronan Parke, the 26-year-old went on to enjoy a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it solo career. When the release of his debut solo album, Believe, in December 2011, failed to make anything beyond a ripple in the music industry, Cowell’s music label Syco quietly dropped him and we’ve not heard much from him since – except to slag off Simon Cowell, of course.
Ashleigh and Pudsey (2012)
Fed up with human talent, the Britain’s Got Talent voters of 2012 opted for the dance skills of a dog instead. The Border Collie, Bichon Frise and Chinese Crested powderpuff cross (what a mouthful…) and his 18-year-old owner wowed the judges at their first audition, with Simon Cowell declaring, “Pudsey is one of the best dancing dogs I’ve ever seen.” Since beating classical duo Jonathan and Charlotte to be crowned series six winners, the pair have enjoyed a stint in pantomime and made a string of television appearances, with Ashley judging ITV’s Christmas canine talent show, That Dog Can Dance, while Pudsey starred alongside Hugh Bonneville in Mr Stink. And like fellow BGT champion Paul Potts, their story has attracted the attention of movie-makers, with Simon Cowell producing Pudsey: The Movie which is set for release this Christmas. With their two PETA campaigns and the release of Pudsey’s “autobidography”, the duo’s prosperous post-BGT career is showing no sign of slowing down…