Ashleigh Butler and her dancing dog Pudsey are not the first talented act from Northamptonshire to have captivated the nation.
The duo from Wellingborough wowed the judges and an audience of millions on Sunday as they sailed through to the final of Britain’s Got Talent. But the county saw a similar buzz surrounding Faryl Smith in 2008, when the teenage singer from Kettering, who was just 12-years-old at the time, blew Simon Cowell away with an astounding rendition of Ave Maria.
Faryl, now 16 and a successful solo artist, also reached the final but was eventually pipped to the top spot by dancer George Sampson.
Her dreams of stardom did not end that night though, and the soprano singer has already signed a record deal, sung with her idol Katherine Jenkins, performed at the Royal Albert Hall five times, sung the National Anthem at FA Cup ﬁnals and England rugby internationals and met the Queen, Prime Ministers and enough celebrities to fill a year’s subscription to Heat magazine.
She even took to the stage at the Royal Variety Performance in 2009 – just one year after missing out on the Britain’s Got Talent prize.
And her debut release was the fastest-selling solo classic album in British chart history, selling almost 30,000 times in its first week.
Faryl may have fallen at the final hurdle but Ashleigh and Pudsey will be hoping to go one better when they perform live on ITV1 this Saturday.