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My lovely cousin Lori hasn't long to live.. I'll sing for her tonight; EXCLUSIVE BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT SECRET HEARTACHE OF SHOW FINALIST.

Byline: BY KATE JACKSON

SINGING plumber Andrew Muir has revealed the secret double heartbreak behind his quest for stardom in Britain's Got Talent.

Delicately stitched inside the sleeves of his semi-final stage outfit were the names of his two cousins - Laura Callaghan, who died in a tragic accident two months ago at 26, and six-year-old Lori Callaghan, who's desperately ill with an incurable brain tumour.

Andrew, who won the judges' vote on Thursday, says he was thinking of the girls as he took to the Britain's Got Talent stage.

"I had Laura's initials sewed into one of the sleeves of my jacket, and Lori's little signature on the other one," says Andrew, from Fauldhouse, West Lothian.

"She had written her name on a piece of paper, and that's what they copied. It's so cute because it's in her childish handwriting.

"I was thinking of them as I went on stage. I'm too scared to call home to be honest because Lori is really very ill, she hasn't got long to live.

"I really hope she's watching tonight."

Andrew's ambition is to ditch his day job and become a singer/songwriter. And he says Lori's plight inspires him to put pen to paper.

"I write a lot of poems and turn them into songs but the best one is the one I dedicated to Lori," he says. "I put all of my heart and soul into that, and tried to express everything I feel about her."

On Thursday Andrew sang Paolo Nutini's Last Request. Simon Cowell declared he had a great voice and TV's Piers Morgan admitted to having a "Paul Potts moment", comparing Andrew to last year's winner.

"I've watched the show back and I didn't even smile when I got through," he says. "I was very nervous and then so shocked I didn't know what to do. It's great when you hear the comments - it makes you believe in yourself and want to do better."

But Andrew's bright yellow shoes and matching watch didn't go down so well. Both Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden called the clobber "dodgy" and Simon Cowell labelled them "horrible".

"I quite liked them," says Andrew. "I'll wear them again in Scotland.

"I'm not going to blame the stylist who pointed them out because I was the one who chose them. They were just a bit different from the usual black and black."

But Andrew promises to wear something less striking tonight. "I think I'll have to tone it down a bit," he admits.

Having sung Paolo Nutini songs in both his ITV1 appearances, Andrew's going to change tactics tonight. "The song I'm doing tonight will be more to the judges taste," he says. "Nutini is great, but some people don't know him. I'm going to do a song by someone else tonight."

Andrew admits he's got a tough task ahead of him. His rivals are mostly children, like breakdancer George Sampson and classical sensation Faryl Smith, or dance duo Signature.

"All the acts are great - I'm up against it," he says. "I don't think the votes will go to them just because they're kids - it'll be because they're good. Signature are amazing, they've got something different. I've just got to go out and do what I can."

Andrew's family and his girlfriend of six years will be in the audience tonight. But he's keeping her a secret - in case he puts off his female fans!

"Some girls might see that I've got a girlfriend and not vote for me!" he jokes.

Not that the 24-year-old has had any fan mail from the ladies yet. "It's quite surreal to think about that happening," he says.

Win or lose tonight, Andrew will be joining the Britain's Got Talent tour, which starts next week across Britain.

No doubt the ladies will be waiting for him...

A WORLD OF, ERM, TALENT

Britain's Got Talent is so successful, there are now 100 versions around the world, boasting talking monkeys, former Eurovision singers and a man who plays songs on a gum leaf. It's a crazy world...

AUSTRALIA

Dannii Minogue heads the judging panel down under, along with Brighton-born Red Symons, a musician and radio host. Child warbler Bonnie Anderson took top prize, despite competition from a bloke playing Imagine on a gum leaf.

FRANCE

In the first series, body-popping boy Salah won and in the second, it was breakdancer Junior who came out top. The French love their urban dance.

RUSSIA

Ventriloquist Ma skim Tokaev and his monkey took the pounds 20,000 prize in the first series in February 2007, while 22-year-old a crobat Dmitry Bulkin won the second. It's hosted by Armenian comedian Garik Morterasian.

SWEDEN

Our MPs should take a leaf out of ex-politician Bert Karlsson's book, and have a go at judging a talent show. He sat alongside ex-Eurovision singer Hanna Hedlund and magician Tobbe Blom on Talent 2007, where the prize is pounds 70,000.

ISRAEL

The Next Big Thing made its debut last June and features one of Israel's biggest stars as a judge, model and singer Yael Bar Zohar. The series was eventually won by highflying aerial trapeze act Kelev and Eve.

GERMANY

With a circus director and a comedian on the judging panel, you might be surprised to hear the winner was opera singer Ricardo Marinello.

SPAIN

The Spanish took up the format in January and imaginatively renamed it You Have Talent. The patriotic public voted in their millions for traditional flamenco singer, Salva, who is only 16, to scoop the EUR150,000 top prize.

PORTUGAL

There's Talent Here witnessed another breakdancing winner in the shape of Abstractin, who took the 75,000 Euro prize.

HOLLAND

The Dutch clearly have an abundance of talent - they have two versions of the show: Holland's Got Talent on the channel SBS6 and Almost Famous on Nederland 1.

GREECE

You Have Talent started in March 2007 and was won by 12-year-old singer Christos Zacharopoulos. Flamboy ant actress Matthilda Maggira provides the entertainment on the judging panel with her array of outrageous outfits. The winner's prize is EUR150,000.

CAPTION(S):

TOP ACT Muir in show; SONG OF HOPE Andrew wants to win for his little cousin Lori, inset, who has an incurable brain tumour Picture: GAVIN FOGG
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 31, 2008
Words:1042
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