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Hopefuls prove they've got talent; HOSTS ANT AND DEC GET THE BETTER OF SIMON.

Byline: GEORGE COLLINS

TV stars Ant and Dec have got one over on Simon Cowell after gifted Geordies proved that Newcastle's Got Talent.

The fourth series of ITV's Britain's Got Talent launches tomorrow, with the show visiting Newcastle for the first time.

With anticipation building for the new series, hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have revealed that sourfaced judge Simon Cowell had predicted Tyneside would not provide any top acts.

But the Geordie duo were proved right in the end when they said that the Toon would provide a number of top acts.

Dec said: "We had a competition both on and off camera with Simon about Newcastle. He said the city would have no talent.

"It started badly, but in the end we won. There were some fantastic acts there so we had the moral victory." The fourth series of the ITV show, which at 8pm tomorrow, heads to cities around the country including Newcastle, Manchester, London and Birmingham to search for a winning act to perform at the Royal Variety Performance and scoop pounds 100,000.

Cowell has revealed he wants an animal rather than a human act to triumph this time on the show which turned Susan Boyle and Paul Potts into stars.

He said: "I want to find the next Lassie. I would like a talented dog act to win." Fellow host Amanda Holden would like to see a variety act claim the crown, which was lifted last year by dance troupe Diversity. "There are some great contenders," she said. "They are from old school stock but have been modernised for today's audiences.

"We still have strong singers and dancers but it would make a great change for something different to win."

Cowell may be one step closer to finding his dream act - with Tina and her dancing dog Chandi, whose skills impressed Morgan immensely. Teenage drummer Kieron Gaffney, 13, who narrowly missed out on the semi-finals in 2009, was given a second chance by the judging trio at the London auditions. Other acts who made it through include ex-footballer-turneddancer Tobias Mead, from Wiltshire, entertainer Kevin Cruise and hoop-juggler Pippa the Ripper. Holden was "blown away"by Mead, saying: "I've got masses of goosebumps. You're one of the best things we've had on the show."

Cowell paid a rare compliment, telling him: "You were just brilliant.

You are super-talented."

No season ever got by without novelty acts and 2010 is no exception.

The Cheeky Boys tickled Holden when they did their balloon act in the buff, accounts clerk Paul Hunn disgusted the panel with his burping and pensioner Michael Lavendar left them speechless with his jungle animal impressions.

"I can't do this any more. I'm 50 years old and this is what I have to see," Cowell moaned after buzzing out The Cheeky Boys.

CAPTION(S):

FANS: From left, Lauren Spicer, Rachael Anderson, Sarah Dugan, and Louise Page STARS IN HER EYES: Simon Cowell meets a fan outside the auditions in Newcastle; right, Ant and Dec
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 16, 2010
Words:501
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