‘Britain’s Got Talent’ got emotional on Saturday (21 April) night, when Manchester bombing survivor Hollie Booth auditioned with her dance troupe, RISE.
The group was first formed six years ago but, as their choreographer explained to the judges, their audition routine was devised in the wake of the terrorist attack.
Hollie, 13, suffered two broken legs in the blast, has had 11 operations and relies on a wheelchair to get around the majority of the time, but was determined to return to dancing as her recovery continued.
After introducing themselves, the dancers - all wearing t-shirts with bee motifs, in a nod to the symbol of Manchester - all took their positions on stage, starting the routine in wheelchairs just like Hollie’s.
As the girls powered their routine, the music mixed into Little Mix’s ‘Salute’ and by the end, the judges and the audience were all on their feet.
Standing side of stage, Ant and Dec were in tears as the judges prepared to give their comments, and the RISE dancers also became emotional.
“This is one of my favorite moments ever on this show,” Alesha told them. “The whole of Manchester is proud of you and the whole of the UK will be too.”
“This whole performance is a testament to your talent and incredible friendship,” David Walliams said, before Amanda added: “It’s so important not to be defined my tragedy. Shaped by it, but not defined by it.”
Finally, Simon told Hollie: “To get through what you went through and come out here, turn negative into positive is quite unbelievable.
“What the people [terrorists] do, they’re cowards. The fact you could come on stage and do what you did and make such a positive statement with your friends. I salute you.”
After delivering their four yeses, the judges headed backstage to chat to Hollie and her fellow auditionees.
While we’re only two weeks in to the current series, RISE’s audition is bound to be one of the moments of the series.
Speaking earlier this month, Alesha said: “For me that audition was bigger than the show.
“That’s the only way to describe the magnitude of what she’s been through and the moment of her performing on the show. It was one of those moments where everyone is humbled.
“It was an interesting audition because on one hand your heart is bleeding and you feel so sad, but by the end of the audition you’re completely uplifted because you’re watching this young girl do the most inspiring routine in such a beautiful way, that you then just felt this joy.”