Britain's Got Talent bosses are accused of a 'fix' again as it's revealed finalists Aquabatique were spotted by producers
08:14 GMT, 11 May 2012
They stunned Simon Cowell with their dynamic synchronised swimming act – prompting him to declare ‘It was like being in a human aquarium'.
And as Aquabatique last night won a place in the Britain’s Got Talent final, it was revealed they had been spotted by producers and fast-tracked through the audition process on the ITV show.
The news came to light just hours after finalists Loveable Rogues were caught up in ‘fix row’ as they admitted that show bosses had also hand-picked them to appear in front of the judges, with the group bypassing the first round of auditions.
So excited: Aquabatique react on last night's live Britain's Got Talent show after finding out they are through to Saturdays' final
Through: The group and singer Ryan O'Shaughnessy progressed to the final, but acrobat Billy George missed out
Zoe Cooper, 28, Emily Kuhl, 22, Beth Smith, 22, and 23-year-old Jazmine Stanberry, who perform in a human-sized fish tank, amazed Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams at their audition.
The girls had already performed at judge David Walliams’ wedding to model Lara Stone, with high-profile fans including Olympic diver Tom Daly and Dragons’ Den judge and business tycoon Peter Jones.
And their entry to the show was unlike other acts, who send in an application, then perform in front of producers, who decide whether to send them through to audition for the judges on camera.
Instead, they were sent through to the ‘live auditions’ after producers watched their showreel.
Going for gold: The quartet wore gold swimsuits as they performed in large tanks on stage
But a Britain’s Got Talent source insisted that producers had viewed more than 2000 show reels, adding: ‘All the acts go through the same judging process.
‘The judges decide who go through and they’re not aware of how contestants have come to be at the auditions.
‘A large number of people were aware of the auditions and applied in the usual manner.
‘However, we cast our net wider this year to make people aware of the auditions. Before the auditions, our researchers discovered talented acts through many routes, including word of mouth, internet searches and open auditions.
‘Hundreds of acts are informed about auditions, but many do not get past producers or judges auditions.’
Handpicked: The group performed at David Walliams' wedding to Lara Stone two years ago
Miss Cooper, who runs Shropshire Swim Academy, still pledged to try for a spot on the finals, saying: ‘We’ve stepped it up so much. The routine is so quick and we literally don’t breathe the whole time.
‘I would say about 90 per cent of this performance will be underwater and we just have to give it everything – my motto is ‘go big or go home’.’
Bookmakers yesterday made singers Jonathan Antoine and Charlotte Jaconelli the 4/6 favourites to win the show, with Asheleigh Butler and her dancing dog Pudsey just behind them with odds of at 5/2.
However, a show source confirmed that neither of the top two favourite acts had been approached prior to auditions by producers.
A Britain’s Got Talent spokesman said: ‘To ensure we leave no stone unturned in our search for the best talent, we let people know about auditions in lots of ways – from ads in local papers to fliers distributed at festivals.
‘As part of this normal process, we may inform some acts about the auditions. These acts still have to apply and go through the same process as every other act. All acts are auditioned on their own merits and the judges then decide who goes through to the live shows.’