Plus, BGT tour axed this year, and Ashleigh Butler will insure Pudsey for £1million
Tonight is of course the big night; the final of BGT, and irrespective of whether Jonathan Antoine and his partner Charlotte Jaconelli win or not, Simon Cowell says he intends to make Jonathan the next Susan Boyle.
The Sun reports that Simon has already drawn up a record deal for Jonathan that’s worth around £1million, and the paper adds that Rob Stringer, who’s one of the biggest bigwigs at Sony, is jetting to the UK today to watch Jonathan and Charlotte perform tonight.
A source close to the show said last night, “Simon knows they will sell a huge number of records.
“They could even go on to beat Susan Boyle — and she’s sold millions.”
And a fried of Simon’s added, “This time last year he was faced with the not-particularly exciting prospect of having to sell Jai McDowall records. He was in a funk.
“But this year his excitement levels are off the scale. He’s watched as Jonathan and Charlotte have taken the country by storm.
“He knows that opera is a big seller, especially if people like the person singing it.”
Former BGT winner Paul Potts – who reckons the duo are set for a very bright future in opera singing – added, “I’m not sure anything will ever be as big as Susan but I certainly believe an American audience will like them both.”
It seems that the UKs bookies are backing Jonathan and Charlotte to win tonight too, with Ladbrokes spokeswoman Jessica Bridge saying, “It will be one of the biggest shocks in TV talent show history if they don’t win.”
And talking of shocks, the paper also reports that there will be no BGT tour this year, after last year’s tour – headed up by winner Jai McDowall – was something of a flop.
A BGT source said, “It costs £140 for a family of four without the booking fee, refreshments and travel. In the current climate, no one can afford it.
“It doesn’t help that the last couple of series have been a bit lacklustre. No one wanted to risk empty seats again.”
That’s sure to be a disappointment to this year’s finalists who could’ve banked on earning money while on the tour.
Talking of money, BGT star Ashleigh Butler is set to insure her amazing – and let’s face it, just plain adorable – dog Pudsey for £1million if she and her pooch pal win tonight.
But even if Ashleigh and Pudsey don’t win, it seems they’ll have no shortage of work as companies have “bombarded” Ashleigh with offers worth thousands to have Pudsey endorsing their products.
A BGT insider said, “Pudsey is set to earn an absolute fortune. Dog food companies, film studios and agents have all been in touch.
“There is big money on the table. Pudsey will make Ashleigh a teenage millionairess.”
Of insuring Pudsey, Ashleigh said, “I insured Pudsey before the contest in case of accidents or something.
“Now he’s been on TV, this might have to go up to a million — you could call him the million-pound dog. But he’s priceless to me.”
So, finally today, we’ll just sum up what odds Ladbrokes are giving on tonight’s acts…
Jonathan and Charlotte 5-6
Ashley and Pudsey 5-2
Ryan O’Shaughnessy 6-1
Loveable Rogues 12-1
Only Boys Aloud 25-1
Sam Kelly and Molly Rainford 66-1
Aquabatique, Kai and Natalia and Nu Skool 100-1
I think I’m still backing Ryan to win, but whether he does or not, the young girl who’s inspired him to write such moving songs, Katie Lucia Keegan, will be at the final tonight to cheer him on!
I’m off on my hols later today so I won’t be around for a week, and by the time I’m back, I’m sure it’ll be all about this year’s Big Brother, and I’ll bring you all the news in the run up to launch night!
Have a great week!