Duo in the spotlight after Cowell praise

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Simon Cowell says Britain’s Got Talent stars Ashleigh Butler and Pudsey are serious contenders to win the whole series after their spectacular semi-final victory.

The duo from Wellingborough received a standing ovation from the audience and all four judges after their routine.

Their performance was also a hit with viewers as they won the public vote to take them straight through to Saturday night’s live final.

They are now 5/2 favourites with the bookies to win the whole competition and perform at the Royal Variety Performance – and scoop the staggering £500,000 prize money.

In a pre-recorded feature filmed in Wellingborough, the Wrenn School pupil said she thought they could win the show.

She said: “A dog has never won before, but I think we can win.

“We have been training really hard and I think we are ready.”

She then led her canine companion performed a rousing 1920s-style dance routine which wowed the famous panel.

Cowell was the first of the judges to kick off the praise for the duo.

He said: “This is what I’ve been waiting for all my life.

“Ashleigh you did a fantastic job – you weren’t just like a trainer, you put an awful lot of work into this.

“I’d love a dog like that. Could you breed him and I can have the puppies?

“This is what this show is all about – I loved it, I love you.

“The act that gets the most votes tonight is a serious favourite to win and I think it’s going to be the dog.”

News of Ashleigh and Pudsey’s success has been widely reported across Britain’s national press, and further afield the loveable duo’s tale has even reached the pages of American publications.

It was the turn of Kettering’s Adam Cooper to compete in last night’s semi-final show.

Adam, 21, whose parents Cherry and Michael live in Windmill Avenue, Kettering, is a member of dance group Four Corners.

Despite impressing all four judges with their performance they failed to have the same kind of impact as Ashleigh and Pudsey with members of the public and did not make it through to Saturday’s final.