MOSSLEY’S Jon Courtenay dares to dream after winning through to the final of Britain’s Got Talent.
Irrespective of what happens on Saturday, October 10, the 47-year-old from Shire Croft said appearing on the ITV hit television show has already being life changing.
Jon, who has described himself as a jobbing performer for the last 30 years playing in clubs, pubs, bars and on cruise ships, has a UK theatre tour scheduled for 2021, something which is down entirely to his success on BGT.
The father-of-two said: “That will be one of my biggest thrills as nobody has ever bought tickets just to watch me.
“I have always been part of other shows, including ones on cruise ships.”
The schedule has yet to be finalised and will be dependent on Covid-19.
He would love home-town Ipswich to be on the itinerary as it has a “wonderful theatre”.
The Lowry, Salford, is also on his wish list and may be even the George Lawton Hall as Mossley is his adopted home and where wife Emmah was raised.
Jon, who admitted to living the dream, added he is not trying to think about the prospect of winning as he does not want to put himself under pressure.
But a £250,000 winners’ prize and the chance to appear at the Royal Variety Show would top off an unbelievable experience which has surpassed every dream.
He said: “It would be a life-changing sum to win under normal circumstances, but more so as I have been unable to work for six months.
“It has been tough as Emmah is a stay-at-home mum and we don’t have many savings. It has been a case of clinging on.
“I would also be able to put some money away for the boys (Nathan, a pupil at Copley Academy, and Alfie who is at Buckton Vale Primary) and that would mean the word for me.
“And to appear at the Royal Variety Shaw would be the absolute pinnacle of my career. All my heroes have appeared on that show.
“I have a one-in-ten chance of winning which is mind blowing.”
Jon, whose parents Ivan and Carolyn Young were variety performers in Barringtons Music Hall, only auditioned because it was his dream to appear at iconic The London Palladium which was fulfilled in the auditions.
As there was no audience for the semi-finals, they were switched to the LH2 Studios in London.
But after winning through the heats thanks to hosts Ant and Dec pressing the golden buzzer, it was the judges who handed Jon the one automatic place from the fourth semi-final.
In the heats, Jon’s comedy song was about here and now, his children, family and appearing on BGT.
For the semi-final, it was a spin-off after he had been asked about being raised in a showbusiness family and was entitled ‘When I was a boy’.
And he included a cameo from his mother, which was screened by video, while there was a tribute to his late father.
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’, said: “Mum never made the big time after giving it up to raise a family.
“She was the hook for the song and for her to have her moment on television was very emotional.
“I ran the story by her. She loved it and was quite teary. It was more happy than sad and also about adding comedy and laughter.”
Jon admitted it was “daunting” giving his first stage performance in almost six months.
He said: “If I have one week when I have not performed it seems strange, but it was surreal for such a huge span.
“It was quite daunting. It was the scariest thing to do an original song for the first time in this environment.
“Even the audition song I managed to run it at a couple of small shows so I had an idea as to how it would be received.
“But this was the first time I had been on stage for five-and-a-half months.”
Jon need not have worried as the performance earned another emotional standing ovation from the judges.
David Walliams, who went on record to say Jon could be the 2020 winner, was complimentary about his song: “It told us about your life but is so personal too.
“It is universal, yet you have such an incredible connection. It is funny, touching and unique to you. I could not fault it.”
Alisha Dixon added: “I didn’t expect to be crying at your act. It was so funny in the beginning and seeing your parents and then the story turn full circle with your own children was magical.
“It was done so simply, but beautifully. It made me feel warm inside.”
Amanda Holden added her praise: “You are very talented and your piano playing in brilliant, but it is you. You are so lovely and so humble.
“You are one of the best golden buzzers we have had on the show and you are what we are trying to epitomise at Britain’s Got Talent.
“After the year we have had, you would be an amazing, brilliant winner.”
Ashley Banjo said: “We may be looking at the winner of this year’s show, it was that good.
“What I loved is that it was so brilliant, yet so simple. The only performers who can do simply brilliant are the ones who have real talent.
“It doesn’t matter how talented you are, you have to connect with people. You, my friend, have it all.”
Anthony McPartlin, one half of Ant and Dec, explained when the golden buzzer show went out they received many messages saying it was the correct choice, adding the presenters could not be prouder.
And of the success, Jon said: “I only went on the show because I wanted to be at The London Palladium and never expected to get this far.
“What you said at the end of my song blew me away. I had to hold it together so I didn’t look an idiot.”
Jon added since the success his victory his diary has never been so busy.
On the Monday following the show, he appeared on Amanda Holden’s breakfast show on Heart FM, ITV’s Lorraine while ITV news went to his home in Mossley to film an interview.
Jon added he has already written and composed another original song for the final following a spark of inspiration.
He said: “I woke up one morning before the semi-final with an idea for a song and quickly made notes.
“As soon as I knew I was in the final, I quickly put it together and am now learning it.”