WATCHED by a television audience of millions, Mossley comedy singer Jon Courtenay captured the nation’s hearts on Britain’s Got Talent.
And the 46-year-old from Shire Croft will be back later in the year to perform another song after hosts Ant and Dec handed out their golden buzzer to put him through to the semi-finals.
Jon wowed the judges performing an original comedy song on the piano about auditioning for BGT and his family. It has already had more than one million views on YouTube.
The judges rose to their feet to applaud Jon and there was also a standing ovation from the audience which included wife Emmah and sons Nathan, 15, and a tearful Alfie, 8.
“You made me fall to bits. I just saw a man who made his dreams come true,” reacted judge Amanda Holden.
“You made the whole audience fall in love with you,” added David Walliams.
Alesha Dixon said: “It had everything and you had us moved to tears. This show is perfect for you and now I want to see you go as far as you can in this competition.”
And Simon Cowell continued: “It was just a wonderful audition. You’re somebody who needs a break, you’ll get a huge reaction from this I promise you.”
Then as he added “I would love to be the first”, Ant and Dec sprinted across the stage to beat him to push the golden buzzer.
Jon, who on Twitter lists himself as a ‘pianist, singer, composer and comedian, occasional magician, father of two, husband of one, lover of laughter and life’, admitted to being “overwhelmed by increasing levels” by the reaction as he looks for a belated big break having been a self-confessed jobbing performer for the last 30 years.
“It was only when I watched it back afterwards that I was able to see how emotional it was. I had no idea I would get a reaction like that,” he said.
Jon explained his sons, huge fans of BGT, had often asked him why he did not audition for the show as their dream is to see him become famous.
He explained writing the song about auditioning for BGT and the emotion of working away from home came about as there was nothing in the one hour show he performs he thought suitable to stand alone.
Jon said: “I did the first version in about 30 minutes and it all came out.
“If you feel inspired to write something it is easy and it then needed polishing as I had a few more ideas.”
Jon revealed he was still editing the song one hour before he went on stage as he only received clearance to use a clip from The Greatest Showman.
“We had an alternative ending but got permission through by the seat of our pants,” he said.
Jon admitted singing the song for the first time on such a huge stage as the London Palladium was unforgettable.
He said: “I was excited, not nervous but apprehensive as I didn’t know how the song would be received.
“It was not as though I had done it hundreds of times, only to family and friends, or it was a recognisable song.
“You always have doubts if it not an original, but luckily it went well and it blew everybody away.
“Everybody was standing up clapping and then when Ant and Dec ran out it was mind blowing.”
Jon admitted stepping out on to the stage at the London Palladium was the fulfilment of an ambition.
He continued: “To walk out at the Palladium was a big dream as my parents were also in showbusiness.
“It is like the Holy Grail, the home of variety and I watched shows on television with my dad. It was sad he didn’t live to see me perform on television at the Palladium.
“It was amazing to be on the stage where some of my heroes have played – Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Morecambe and Wise – while I was in front of four of the most recognisable people on British television.”
Though the audition was filmed at the end of January, it was only broadcast on Saturday, April 18.
The semi-finals had been scheduled to be held at the end of May but will be delayed to later in the year.
Jon has already penned song for the semi-final describing it as “quirky and different to the audition song” saying he will have more time to polish it.
It was no surprise Jon should become an entertainer as his parents Carolyn and Ivan Young were in showbusiness.
His mother was a member of Barringtons Music Hall and performed in stage shows while his father compered shows.
“I watched them from the age of four and saw how wonderful back-stage life was and wanted to be part of it,” he said.
“My dad had great knowledge of stage craft and was a great observer telling me how to walk on stage and to take applause and bow.”
Jon, who learned to play the piano aged five, was raised in Suffolk and went to boarding school. He started out as a comedian/magician in his teens on the hotel circuit in Cyprus where his parents lived.
He added he has been fortunate to have worked continuously for 30 years, starting in clubs, pubs and bars and later having performed on many cruise ships.
Jon said: “Some have been world cruises and the theatres are huge and rival any in this country with nine-or-10-piece orchestras.
“I have spent a lot of time away but was lucky that the family were able to travel with me when the boys were younger.”
Jon decided to live in Mossley because it’s Emmah’s home town and many of her family are based there – they met at a holiday park on Hayling Island where she was a dancer.
He admitted: “I spent a lot of time away from home and we decided it was a good place to live so Emmah can be near her family. Property is also far better value here than in London.”
Since the show, Jon said he has been stopped in the streets of Mossley.
“I have walked to the Co-op a couple of times and people have stopped me and said lovely things,” he said.
Though the coronavirus lockdown has affected his work, Jon has diversified and holds virtual business and social events from the studio at his home.
• Anybody wishing to book Jon can do so through www.greenfairyproductions.com