Liam Wells and fellow members of The Collaborative Orchestra and Singers, who return to our screens tomorrow night (Saturday), received a standing ovation after their imaginative performance at London’s Dominion Theatre.
Initially pianist Nicholas Bryant had taken to the stage, leading the panel to believe he was auditioning alone.
He started his act by playing Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, but within a few lines a bunch of other musicans started to stand up in the audience and perform, before making their way to the stage.
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But another surprise was in store as a second group – including Liam – stood up in the balcony and began to sing too.
Alesha Dixon said: “That was one of the most brilliantly put together performances I have ever seen.”
David Walliams enthused: “That was fantastic. Really, really special.”
The winning act receives £250,000, along with the chance to perform at the Royal Variety Performance.
And an impressed Simon Cowell added: “I have one slight problem, I have worked out that if you win you will make about 8p each. You know what? That is what we are looking for!”
With such rave reviews, the 66-strong group made it through to the next round – and will feature again on Saturday (May 21).
But how did Liam, 20, whose family home is in Vimy Road, find himself on this TV adventure?
He said: “A friend who was part of the orchestra was speaking about it and said they were looking for singers for their new project. We rehearsed for two months, auditioned and smashed it.
“It was meant to be a flashmob, in the style of a scene from the film Love Actually. They wanted us in the balcony with the audience, in the front row.”
Liam, a former pupil at Cedars Upper, plus Linslade Middle and Linslade Lower schools, moved to London to pursue his love of music back in November and now works at Ted Baker in Covent Garden.
He said: “I go to gigs performing with a friend on open mic nights. I’ve been busking in Covent Gardens too. When I was younger I used to sing and can play the piano.
“I’m into old soul like Ray Charles and indie music like alt-J.
“Being with the group now has built up my confidence and I’m now doing the PR for the orchestra.”
> Watch Saturday’s show from 8pm to find out if The Collaborative Orchestra and Singers make it through to the semi-finals.