Hemel Hempstead was top of the bill on Saturday night’s episode of Britain’s Got Talent, as both a musician and an R’n’B band from the town featured in the hit entertaiment show.
Andrew Playfoot, 47, who lives near the town centre, appeared in the penultimate auditions show of this year’s ITV series with his group Band Of Voices.
The a cappella quintet is made up of professional singers including Andrew, who has previously sung backing vocals for Kylie Minogue, Will Young and Westlife, and just this week worked on a new Robbie Williams’ album.
The 47-year-old also worked as a backing singer on Britain’s Got Talent and X Factor for five years.
Andrew, who runs Playfeet Theatre Company in Hemel Hempstead with his wife Nikki, said the response since the show aired at the weekend has been amazing.
He said: “We had the audition in January, but only found out last week that it was going to be featured on Saturday.
“We have had an absolutely incredible response from friends, family and people I have known in the business over the years. They have all said how amazing it was.”
The group performed an unaccompanied rendition of Jessie J’s number one hit Price Tag, but straight-talking judge Simon Cowell surprised audiences by asking them for an encore.
The band then sang God Save The Queen, to which judge Amanda Holden said: “With the way we all feel about the Queen in this country at the moment, that would probably go straight to number one.”
Andrew said: “We didn’t know we would be asked to sing it, it is rare to be asked for an encore on Britain’s Got Talent so that was amazing.
“We did get an amazing amount of coverage on the show, I feel sorry for some other guys who just got little clips.”
Band Of Voices actually got seven minutes of airtime on the programme, which was watched by more than 9.2 million people.
The Youtube clip of their audition has also received more than 320,000 views since Saturday.
Andrew, whose sons Alex, Joseph and Ollie all attend Hemel Hempstead schools, added: “A lot of my theatre school pupils attend the schools as well so walking through the playground this week has been really incredible. Now they have seen me on TV it has heightened everything for them.
“At gigs I am at the forefront, but it is to a closed audience. Getting the television viewers, and then the Youtube hits afterwards, has brought what we do to a much wider audience.”
The former musical theatre actor said he is looking forward to finding out whether Band Of Voices makes it through the judges’ final deliberations in this Sunday’s episode. If they do, they will be performing in the live semi-finals one night next week.
Andrew said: “We are in rehearsals just in case, but however much further we go, what we have achieved so far is incredible. We are definitely going to carry on with it and record an album, whatever happens.”
Viewers also saw a Hemel Hempstead band flirt with singleton Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon.
The band E3 Brothers Eugy, 23, Joe, 22, and Henry Entsir, 21, appeared for about 20 seconds on Saturday’s show and exchanged winks with the Hertfordshire-born judge.
When the band introduced themselves as being from “Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead” the Welwyn Garden City-born star said: “Oh, near me.”
One of the band members said: “Really, oh, I’ll see you later”, exchanging winks with the 34-year-old former Mis-Teeq singer. The singer’s single status became a running feature of the show.
The band’s website describes them as “sharing an inseparable family bond and with music flowing through their veins,” and influenced by the classic R’n’B sounds of the 90s, hip-hop, gospel and afrobeat.
It adds that they grew up “surrounded by music and passionate about creating entertaining performances”.
The three brothers sing, write, produce, rap/MC as well as play the piano, bass guitar and drums.
For the last two years E3 Brothers have been sharing their music with the world via their youtube channel www.youtube.com/e3brothers.
Catch Sunday night’s episode of Britain’s Got Talent on ITV at 8pm to find out whether Andrew’s Band Of Voices or E3 Brothers are in with a chance of winning the competition and a slot at the Royal Variety Performance.
Band Of Voices were bookies’ second favourite to win the show at the time of going to press, behind silhouette act Attraction.