Birmingham sees Britain's Got Talent sweep in

An opera-singing dog, hundreds of screaming fans and celebrity judges stealing the show - Britain's Got Talent landed in Birmingham with bang at the weekend.

An opera-singing dog, hundreds of screaming fans and celebrity judges stealing the show - Britain's Got Talent landed in Birmingham with bang at the weekend.

Crowds of lucky ticket holders braved chilly spring temperatures to wait for hours outside the New Alexandra Theatre as the auditions swept into the city yesterday.

It was the last round of auditions before the popular show hits our screens this month, with the judges seeing a selection of the remaining hopefuls who had auditioned through YouTube.

Presenters Ant 'n' Dec were first on the scene to meet the queuing crowd before doing their pieces to camera. Dec however was not as quick on his feet as usual as he visibly walked with a limp.

When questioned, he said: "I've hurt my ankle, I don't know how I have done it."

David Hasselhoff was the first judge to arrive, taking the British theme to heart with an eye-popping Union flag suit jacket.

The flamboyant actor leapt out of his chaffeur driven silver Mercedes to shouts of "Hoff, Hoff, Hoff" from the waiting crowd.

The Nightrider and Baywatch star chatted to fans, signed autographs and posed for photographs.

Next up was new judge comedian Michael McIntyre, who joins the line up for the first time. Dressed soberly by comparison in a long black coat, he was clearly not quite as comfortable talking to the crowds, nodding and smiling at the audience before quickly hurrying into the theatre.

The last to arrive was longest-standing judge Amanda Holden, who flaunted her stunning figure in a white, low cut flared dress and towering heels, looking much younger than her 40 years.

It was one of the first times she has been seen out in public since losing her baby at seven months pregnant in early February. Sources have said yesterday's scenes needed to be filmed again so the actress did not look pregnant throughout the latest series.

She hugged audience members and posed for pictures as she made her way into the theatre for the show.

What went on inside the theatre was a closely-guarded secret, but sources said that as well as the usual crop of singers, dancers and comedians, an opera-singing dog was one of the stars of the show.

The puppy called Buddy is said to have amazed the judges as it sang Pie Jesu alongside its owner. David Hasselhoff was said to be particularly taken by the act. The judges were so impressed they unanimously voted Buddy through to the finals.

The Birmingham crowd was thrilled to have won tickets for the John Bright Street venue. Natasha White, aged 16, from Dudley said she and her friends had only applied for seats four weeks ago.

"We are really excited to be here. We really wanted to see Michael McyIntyre, he is so funny. We just want to be entertained and have fun."

Stacie Parker, aged 23 from Portobello in Willenhall said: "I only found out I had got the tickets yesterday. We are really excited. We really want to see some funny auditions.

"I really like Michael Mcyntyre I think he is really funny and should be entertaining."

Couple Tricia Smith, aged 53, and Pete Nessling, aged 59, from Barnetts Lane, Walsall said they had come to the auditions to be entertained. Mr Nessling said: "This is the second time we have been to the auditions and it was really good fun. We would rather see the acts that offer greater entertainment value, not the ones that are really good."

Piers Morgan, who was a judge on the show last year, will not be making an appearance on the latest series due to filming commitments for his chat show in America.

Producer Simon Cowell has not been present at the auditions but will be part of the live shows. The new series will be screened on ITV1 on April 16.