Belfast Telegraph

Watch: BGT judges bowled over by St Patrick's choir and balloon man Ryan

By Allan Preston

Pupils in a Co Down school choir have said they thought they were in a dream after delivering a stunning performance on Britain's Got Talent.

St Patrick's Primary School in Drumgreenagh, near Rathfriland, were asked to audition for the prime time TV show after winning Radio Ulster's school choir of the year in 2016.

On Saturday night a national TV audience were left amazed by their assured performance of the Keane hit, Somewhere Only We Know.

With smiles to match their vocal harmonies, the choir led by teacher Patricia McCaughey received a standing ovation and four yes votes from pop boss Simon Cowell and fellow BGT judges David Walliams, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden.

"Loved it, loved it, loved it!" said the notoriously hard to impress Cowell. "You can't ask for much better than that!"

Sisters Kara (9) and Isla Williams (11)) who live near Rathfriland said they would never forget the experience.

"When I went on stage and saw all the judges I felt like I was just dreaming and I pinched myself," said Kara.

"I was a wee bit nervous in case we went out of tune, then I realised it was real life and I nearly fainted.

"It was just amazing to hear all of the comments and to see all of the judges stand up and give us that standing ovation. I never expected Simon to stand up."

Isla added: "It was very intense walking out on stage, there was a very big crowd and you felt very nervous. You couldn't hear what the judges were saying at first. But Mrs McCaughey tried to calm us down and it worked and we stayed in tune."

After leaving the stage on a high note, the choir were quickly joking with presenters Ant and Dec. "They were really nice," said Kara. "They asked a lot of questions about how we got on and what we thought of the judges. They were trying to do our accents too."

Proud parents Mark and Geraldine Williams said the family were "on cloud nine" as they gathered round the TV on Saturday night.

"It was such an emotional experience," said Mrs Williams.

"We're still riding that cloud of excitement, it was an unbelievable experience.

"We feel so fortunate that our children have been given this wonderful opportunity, we can't thank Mrs McCaughey enough."

Mr Williams added: "There was a moment the cameras focused on Mrs McCaughey, she just said the word 'beautiful' to the choir before they started and she really calmed them down. That was a really lovely moment that a lot of parents commented on."

Mrs McCaughey said she was as awestruck as her pupils. "It was incredible sitting watching it with my family last night," she said.

"Until we actually walked out and saw the judges we didn't believe it, then you knew it was show time."

"We were a wee bit nervous, but they were so charming. Simon Cowell actually put everyone at ease.

"The children are full of enthusiasm, talent and just sheer natural joy when they sing and that shines through. We came off the stage saying 'did that really happen?'."

School principal Sorcha Lyons said the entire school was "absolutely over the moon".

"The reaction has just been incredible through social media. We're all looking forward to seeing the children in school next week to share all the reactions.

"They remained really composed throughout the performance. They're an amazing bunch of children anyway, the message we gave them was to go and enjoy yourselves, sing your hearts out and make the most of it and they certainly did that."

The choir still have a chance to appear in the BGT semi-final.

"We just have to wait and see, we're just keeping our fingers and toes crossed," said Mrs Lyons.

A second act from Northern Ireland also floored judges on Saturday night, with Omagh man Ryan Tracey (35) smashing a world record on stage for making balloon sculptures.

He assembled a dog, sword, flower, snail and caterpillar in just over one minute while blindfolded, beating a seven-year record.

"It was amazing," said Cowell. "In the last 10 seconds you did it. I'm going to remember I was here on the day you did."

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