BRITAIN’S Got Talent viewers were left very moved by dance hopefuls MerseyGirls, whose lead performer Julia Carlile has scoliosis, and who have made it through to the grand final of the show.
But who are the dance troupe, and what earned them Alesha Dixon’s golden buzzer? Here’s all the info you need…
Who are MerseyGirls and what is their Britain’s Got Talent act?
MerseyGirls, formerly known as Just Us, are a group of five female pals who have been dancing together since the age of five.
The group consists of Annie and Alice, both 17, Rebecca, 16, Alice’s sister Julia, 15, and 14-year-old Poppy.
Julia, who took centre stage ahead of their performance, said: “I’ve always dreamt of being on [Britain’s Got Talent]. Sitting here is really amazing- I’m shaking!”
She also revealed she suffered from scoliosis — so performing is a huge privilege for her considering she may soon need surgery on her spine.
Julia said: “What I have is very rare because you usually get it from an accident but I was born with it. So I have to have an operation and after that I won’t be able to dance again.”
What is scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a spine condition that causes it to twist and curve out of shape.
It is most common in the chest and lower region of the back, and can be an effect of a series of other ailments including cerebral palsy and spina bifida.
Visible signs of the condition including protruding spines, asymmetrical ribs, unbalanced shoulder blades and the head being off-centre.
Those like Julia who are born with scoliosis often grow into it as they grow up and their spine straightens itself in the process.
However, if the spine doesn’t straighten naturally, it could often mean those affected can be forced to use braces or undergo surgery and therapy in order to help it.
Other effects of scoliosis include chronic pain and decreased exercise capacity, which would affect Julia’s dancing as a result.
What happened during MerseyGirls’ Britain’s Got Talent audition?
After revealing her ailment to the judges, the five girls performed a routine to Rachel Platten’s Fight Song.
The troupe received a standing ovation from the audience which left them on the verge of tears, while the judges sang their praises.
David said: “It was an absolutely stunning performance. I mean, obviously when you told us that story we were hoping and praying it would be fantastic but it so far exceeded all our expectations. It’s a beautiful story about friendship and absolutely stunning performance.”
Alesha then left the girls screaming by slamming down on the golden buzzer, leaving hosts Ant and Dec blubbing on the sidelines.
Simon Cowell then told Alesha: “This could not be more deserved.”
What did Alesha Dixon say when she pressed the golden buzzer?
Alesha was seen holding back tears as she told the girls after their performance: “I have so much admiration for you girls right now, I can’t tell you.
“Just seeing how you’ve all come together with this beautiful friendship you’ve got. When you’re passionate about something I could not image not being able to do it again.
“That’s what we all live for. It has really touched me, so much so that I’m going to do this.”
She then joined the girls for a group hug on the stage, and added: “I know what it means to have something that means more than anything in the world.”
Winners of Britain’s Got Talent win a whopping £250,000 — money which the pals hope to give to Julia to pay for life-altering surgery, should they conquer their rivals.
Julia’s surgery would require her to fly to the US and costs £78,000, but could mean that she could still dance.
She revealed: “If we win I’d hope to fly to America, where I can get another kind of operation — called tethering surgery — that means I could dance for the rest of my life.
“It’s expensive, though, so I can’t afford it right now. We have saved £4,000 and we need $100,000 [just over £78,000].”
When are the Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals on and who else is through?
The live semi-final shows are broadcast nightly from Monday May 29 to Friday June 2, starting at 7.30pm on ITV and lasting for 90 minutes (and the results revealed at 9.30pm).
Even more coverage can be found on ITV at the end of each show as Stephen Mulhern hosts Britain’s Got More Talent at 10pm.
There are semi-finals to come until June 2, and the final will take place on Saturday, June 3 they were originally scheduled for June 4 but have been moved to accommodate Ariana Grande’s Tribute Concert in aid of the Manchester bombing victims.
The winners of the fourth semi-final will compete against Kyle Tomlinson, DNA, Issy Simpson, Matt Edwards as well as Ned Woodman and Tokio Myers in the grand final.
The BGT winner will receive a prize packet of £250,000 and the chance to perform for the Queen and royals at the Royal Variety Performance.