A teenage survivor of the Manchester Arena bombing qualified for the next round of Britain’s Got Talent as she returned to the city of the attack to audition.
Hollie Booth, 13, and her dance troupe, Rise, performed to a medley of Ariana Grande hits less than a year after the youngster attended the pop star’s concert where a suicide bomber killed 22 people including Hollie’s aunt, Kelly Brewster.
The 11 dancers, aged between 10 and 24 years old, performed the dance with wheelchairs in support of Hollie who spent weeks in hospital and had multiple operations following the suicide bombing.
She was praised by Simon Cowell for her efforts at the audition as the dance group received four yes votes from the judges.
Cowell said: “Hollie … this is difficult … to get through what you went through and come out here and turn a negative into a positive is actually quite unbelievable.
“What these people did, they’re cowards, and the fact that you can come on stage and do what you did and make such a positive statement with your friends, I’m very proud of you.
“In fact I salute you,” he added.
Hollie broke her right knee and her left foot and leg as well as suffering nerve damage meaning she cannot walk without wearing a splint.
Also making it through was a priest who brought the crowd to tears with his moving rendition of REM’s Everybody Hurts.
Father Ray Kelly, 64, from Oldcastle, County Meath in Ireland was one of Cowell’s “favourite ever auditions”.
The judge added: “I thought your voice was beautiful, I loved the version of the song, this was everything we’ve been waiting for, genuinely.”
A stand-up comedian who cannot speak also made it through after David Walliams told him it was one of the best stand-up routines he had ever seen.
Lee Ridley, 37, who performs under the name Lost Voice Guy, has cerebral palsy which has left him unable to speak thus meaning he used his iPad to deliver a unique comedy routine.
Rock star pensioner, Jenny Darren, who sings AC/DC’s Highway to Hell and a pair of balancing Vietnamese acrobats were also given four yeses by judges.
The episode, which was recorded in January, marked Ant McPartlin’s first appearance on TV screens since he was banned from the road for 20 months and fined £86,000 for driving while more than twice the legal limit earlier this week.
After McPartlin, of Chiswick, west London, was charged, ITV announced the Saturday Night Takeaway host would step back from his TV commitments, with co-presenter Declan Donnelly presenting the final two episodes of the show on his own.
While he is currently appearing in the pre-recorded auditions, ITV confirmed Donnelly will host the Britain’s Got Talent live shows without his TV partner of almost 30 years.