Ashleigh claims place in the final

ASHLEIGH Butler and her dog Pudsey took Britain’s Got Talent by storm and claimed a place in the final last night.

Ashleigh, of Wellingborough, and her pet dog Pudsey received a standing ovation from all four judges and the audience before claiming one of the two spots available in the final.

After their stunning performance, head judge Simon Cowell told Ashleigh: “This is what I have been waiting for all my life.

“I have got to tell you Ashleigh that you did a fantastic job. I would love a dog like that, I really would.

“This is what this show is all about. I loved it and loved you.”

Fellow judge David Walliams was equally impressed with the 17-year-old and the pet she has had since she was 11.

He said: “When I came to rehearsals the only person I wanted to meet was Pudsey.

“You are like Torvill and Dean, or Rogers and Astaire. I think you can win, and I want you to.”

And judge Alesha Dixon said: “Everything about it was just brilliant. You deserve to go through to the final.”

Ashleigh was one of nine acts in the first of five live semi-finals leading up to Saturday’s final, when the big prize at stake for the Wrenn School pupil is £500,000 and a chance to perform for the Queen at the Royal Variety Show.

Before getting through to the semi-finals Ashleigh said: “One moment you think at home you could get through and then the other you actually get here and there’s so many people.”

The sixth former was given Pudsey as an 11th birthday present and spends up to an hour each day training her pet – a border collie, bichon frise and Chinese crested-cross.

She has previously scooped top awards for her agility and freestyle performances at numerous competitions, including Crufts.

Tonight it’s the turn of Kettering dancer Adam Cooper, 21, a member of Four Corners dance group, to make a bid for a place in the finals and stardom.

Adam, 21, whose parents Cherry and Michael live in Windmill Avenue, Kettering, is looking forward to performing in the live semi-final tonight.

He said: “I’m nervous because we will be performing for millions of television viewers but we’ve got an amazing routine that’s going to blow everyone away.

“This is a chance of a lifetime but we can’t do it unless everyone picks up the phone and votes for us. I know all my family and friends in Kettering will be cheering us on.”

Adam, who attends a dance school in London, first wowed the show’s judges when he and the dance group performed to Rihanna’s Only Girl in the World.