Britain’s Got Talent’s most emotional auditions ever

Everybody loves a tearjerker on the ITV variety competition. Here are 11 memorable performances that reduced the judges - and viewers - to tears.

Britain’s Got Talent may pride itself on being unpredictable, but a handful of things are guaranteed to happen during every series.

A contestant who looks completely out of place on the stage will amaze everyone with their raw talent, a child will turn out to be the best dancer we’ve ever seen, and a good number of acts will reduce the judges to tears.

The 2019 contest has been no exception, with plenty of memorable performances to add to the list of the show’s most emotional auditions.

2019’s most emotional auditions

Flakefleet Primary School

The first Golden Buzzer contestants of the series managed to reduce the judges to tears – particularly David Walliams, who put them straight through to the final.

The kids from Flakefleet Primary School and their headteacher defied every genre and just concentrated on embracing the joy of being on stage.

Incredible costumes, bags of energy, and managing to give every single one of the many kids involved a chance to shine added up to a tearjerker of an audition, even though it was one of the most cheerful performances we’ve seen.

Headteacher Dave McPartlin struggled to hold back the tears, too, as he proudly danced alongside his pupils.

[Read more: Who are the Britain's Got Talent 2019 Golden Buzzer acts?]

Leanne Mya

Some auditions mean much more to the contestants than just those few minutes on stage, as singer Leanne Mya showed us.

Leanne is a survivor of the Grenfell Tower fire. While the event is still too painful for her to talk about in detail, she explained that battling through the time since the fire destroyed her home had made her want to achieve something positive for herself.

There’s no doubt that Leanne did exactly that, as her hugely emotional rendition of Sam Smith’s Lay Me Down brought the judges, audience and viewers to tears.

Her family were there cheering her on as she won four yeses from the judges, and she’s said she hopes her success will inspire others to overcome tough times in their lives.

Jacob Jones

Singer Jacob Jones had already brought a lump to the throats of those watching him audition with You Are So Beautiful, but the really weepy moment was yet to come.

As Jacob picked up his full house of yeses from the judges, he still looked oddly nervous – and that’s because as he explained, if he got four yeses, he wanted to go for a fifth.

The judges and audience immediately saw where this was heading when he asked his girlfriend to get up and join him on stage, where of course a proposal was on the cards.

She said yes! And even the normally stony-faced Simon Cowell couldn’t stop grinning.

Colin Thackery

Britain’s Got Talent loves an elderly performer, an ex-military contestant, and a heartfelt tribute to a loved one, so 89-year-old Colin Thackery was ticking all the boxes before he even began singing.

The former soldier came up on stage in his Chelsea Pensioner's coat and cap to explain that he wanted to sing for his late wife, who had been a huge support to him in everything he’d done.

He said: “I miss her like mad. I talk to her all the time, tell her what’s happening. If she knew I was on this stage, I think she’d be really chuffed really! I will be very proud to sing to her.”

Colin’s version of Wind Beneath My Wings was note perfect and a touching moment for everyone in the audience.

[Read more: Where are the Britain's Got Talent live shows filmed?]

The weepiest acts from previous years

Susan Boyle

The all-time classic Britain’s Got Talent audition is Susan Boyle’s first performance, back when she was an unknown woman from West Lothian.

Proving you should never judge a book by its cover, SuBo may not have looked like a typical star as she told judges she was in her late 40s but had never been kissed.

However, she shrugged off cruel laughs from the audience and stunned them into silence with a hauntingly beautiful rendition of Les Miserables showstopper I Dreamed a Dream.

Susan had the last laugh as her time on the show propelled her on to become a worldwide superstar who’s still in demand 10 years on and who can still lay claim to having released the UK’s best-selling debut album of all time.


No one’s quite sure why Hungarian shadow dancers Attraction made us all so emotional, but in 2013 pretty much everyone was in tears from their audition right through to their victory in the final.

The dancers acted out various touching scenarios in silhouette and made Amanda Holden cry every time they got up on stage.

It didn’t matter that they were an international act – the judges and viewers were so moved by what they saw that the Hungarian theatre group just had to take the prize that year.

Attraction’s tribute to Britain in the grand final was particularly emotional and they remain the only international act to have won the show.

[Read more: Where are the Britain's Got Talent winners now?]

Marc Spelmann

A magician might not instantly strike you as the most likely act to bring out all the emotions, but Marc Spellman’s uplifting audition had some real life magic in it, too.

Marc and his family had been through some of the toughest times imaginable – after four failed rounds of IVF, they were finally expecting their much-longed-for baby on their fifth and final round.

But three months into her pregnancy, Marc’s wife Tessa was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to start chemotherapy while pregnant, with their daughter Isabella eventually delivered two months early so that her treatment could continue.

Thankfully, Tessa made a full recovery and Isabella was a healthy toddler by the time Marc auditioned with a routine inspired by his courageous family.

It goes without saying that there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, especially from host Ant McPartlin who chose him as a Golden Buzzer act.

The Missing People Choir

Beautifully harmonised choirs are always capable of bringing a tear to the eye, but there was something extra special about this one.

The name says it all – the singing group who auditioned in 2017 was made up of the relatives of people who had gone missing and they sang in tribute to their lost loved ones.

It included the father of chef Claudia Lawrence and the sister of Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards. Photos of the singers' missing relatives were projected onto a screen behind them as they sang.

Not only did the choir enjoy success on Britain’s Got Talent, their appearances also helped in the search for some of the missing people. One 13-year-old boy called his mother after seeing her singing, and new information came to light about some of the other missing relatives.

[Read more: Britain's Got Talent's biggest ever controversies]

Rise Unbroken

Teen dance groups may be 10-a-penny on Britain’s Got Talent these days, but Rise Unbroken had an extra-specially inspiring message to offer.

Among the Manchester-based group was Hollie Booth, who had been caught up in the Manchester Arena bombing at an Ariana Grande concert.

Hollie had suffered a broken leg, knee and foot, and tragically lost her aunt in the attack.

Despite being in a wheelchair, she took full part in the dance routine alongside her friends as Amanda Holden told them: “Girls, it's so important not to be defined by tragedy, to be shaped by it, but never defined by it. It was an amazing audition.”

Harry Gardner

We’ve seen many aspiring singers over the years try their luck with a self-penned track, usually about love and heartbreak.

So when 16-year-old singer-songwriter Harry Gardner took to the stage, his performance was refreshingly different.

Harry’s song Not Alone was a heartfelt tribute to his grandma, who had Alzheimer’s disease and tragically passed away just a few days before the episode aired on TV.

The teen managed to raise thousands of pounds for charity with his song, and it kickstarted his singing career.


Another teen dance group that deserves a mention for standing out from the crowded genre is MerseyGirls (originally called Just Us), which again saw a group of friends band together in support of one of their dancers.

Talented Julia Carlile risked never being able to dance again as her spinal condition, scoliosis, worsened – but she still put all of her effort into giving the best performance she could.

MerseyGirls were hoping to win the show and fund an operation on Julia’s spine so that she could continue to dance, but in one of Britain’s Got Talent’s most touching moments ever, Simon Cowell offered to pay for the surgery himself.

Brave Julia was apparently dancing again just nine days after her life-changing op, so it looks as though the group will be able to continue performing together.

Britain’s Got Talent continues on Saturday on ITV.

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