Simon Cowell knows talent when he sees it and our juggler could go all the way on the hit TV show.
They have been calling it the Thomas Bounce Affair.
Take one diffident but determined young local juggler – and one supremely supercilious Britain’s Got Talent judge.
Thomas Senior, 17, of Great Eccleston, who goes by his business and stage name Thomas Bounce, had barely got into his stride before Simon Cowell buzzed him during the auditions stage for the hit TV show...but he soon bounced back.
The former Rossall pupil left school at 16 in July to take up juggling professionally on the Fylde at parties and community and circus skills workshops.
He admits: “I was totally in the zone and it jolted me, made me jump, lose focus and drop the balls.
“I was shocked and a bit panicked. Then I saw I had more balls on the side so picked it up and carried on.”
The plucky teenager’s remarkable composure and skill with what he calls upside down juggling not only won the Britain’s Got Talent audience over but melted the hearts of Cowell’s fellow judges Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams.
And it was Walliams who intervened on behalf of the young man and talked Cowell round – SiCo later admitting: “I buzzed too early.”
A dazed Thomas walked off the stage back to his parents in the wings with Ant and Dec – with the four votes needed to have a fighting chance of making it to the next rounds.
So what next?
It’s now been confirmed that talented Thomas has made it through to the show’s semi finals stage – and he competes tonight.
Show producers call it The Big Reveal when contestants to survive the first rounds are told whether they have made it through to the next stage and Thomas is now one of the acts who will compete to impress to win a place in the final.
“It felt sort of fated,” says Thomas of his first appearance. “The audience were ready for it, and I was too. But it’s nervewracking. It seemed such a long time to be out there – the editing makes it look much faster.
“And I could feel the audience warming towards me. At first it was like, eh up, it’s another juggler.
“I don’t think it’s old fashioned. I do a different form of juggling and the patterns and tricks are really intricate.
“Simon said he wanted something different so I’ll do just that – and make it much faster if chosen.
“It didn’t feel like performing for one of my usual shows or workshops. You are very conscious of the panel and the audience – and all the hidden millions at home watching.”
BGT’s official YouTube footage of the routine has racked up almost 196,000 views since Thomas appeared in the fourth week of the show.
He’s also filmed a masterclass for the show’s website – featuring him juggling in and around his home, which has had almost 25,000 views.
“I’m now getting recognised when I go out. I went to Blackpool Zoo with my cousin and people were posing with me for photographs,” he says.
“I am so pleased and happy the audience liked it and the judges were brilliant, Ant and Dec were probably more nervous than I was.
“I love them all but David Walliams was amazing because it was a huge relief when he came out fighting my corner.
“ I still think Simon’s brilliant.
“It’s going to help my marketing too – I’ve got some great leads as a result, bookings for appearances and workshops.
“Lots of people have been in touch through Twitter and I’ve had lots of notifications from people at school who haven’t spoken to me before or since I left school.”
Thomas admits he was considered a bit of an oddball by some at school. “They didn’t get why I liked juggling so much.”
He says it has improved his fitness levels no end. “I wasn’t sporty but this has it all as I have to be able to do at least a half hour routine.”
Nor is it all balls-in-air. Thomas juggles silks, batons, knives... and even fire.
“I mean to capitalise on the fact that everyone’s heard of the show so if I can make my routines even better I could really get somewhere – it would fit perfectly into a variety show as a speciality act but it’s hard to get into that industry.”
Last year BGT was won by Pudsey the dog and trainer Ashleigh Butler. Even with ratings falling the final racked up 13m viewers, making it the9th most watched TV show of last year.