Saturday 1 October 2016

Irish ninja princess Jesse Jane McParland makes BGT semi-finals

JOANNE FLEMING

Published 26/05/2015 | 07:50

The nine-year-old ninja who astonished Britain's Got Talent with her sword-wielding skills has swept into the talent show's live semi-finals.

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Armagh schoolgirl Jesse Jane McParland - nicknamed JJ - whose incredible martial arts skills were described on the TV show as "unbelievable", is the youngest semi-finalist and last solo competitor from Northern Ireland.

Already a multiple Taekwondo champion with 172 titles under her belt, a meek and mild looking JJ wowed the judges last month at her first audition in a routine packed with thrilling high speed rotations, somersaults, back flips and samurai sword swings.

On Saturday night judge Amanda Holden joked to JJ: "I was too frightened to say 'no' to you," when she broke the good news on the stage of London's Dominion Theatre.

Dad Gary said he had cried with happiness at his daughter's success.

"Even before she came off stage the tears were in my eyes," he said. "We are all so proud of her. Nothing seems to faze her. She is such a good wee girl." Gary said that they had been flooded with interview requests from around the world, but that his daughter had kept a level head.

"That is one of the things I love about her," he told the Sunday Life. "She is an 11-time world champion and nine-time European champion (in martial arts). But everyone says you wouldn't think it because you would never hear her talk about it."

And he hinted that JJ would have something special up her for sleeve for the semi-final.

"She is doing something that she has never done before," said Gary, who is a sheep and cattle farmer and bricklayer. "But I can't give away too much."

After seeing hundreds of acts at auditions held around the UK, judges Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden have whittled them down to just 45.

Live semi-finals will be held every night this week, with the final on Sunday.

Also through are Wendy the talking dog and owner Marc Metral.

Belfast Telegraph

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