Ireland's Got Talent semi-final shock as favourite Evelyn Williams is sent home
After weeks of blood, sweat and tears, the final crop of semi-finalists descended on Dublin's The Helix for a chance to perform in the grand finale of Ireland's Got Talent on Saturday.
Proceedings got off to a tough start however as 18 crew members were forced to make a last-ditch pilgrimage to Dundalk after the Metro Hotel fire in Ballymun where they were set to stay on Wednesday.
The crew were left stranded by the fire and producers had to scramble at 11pm to find them a place to stay, with all hotel rooms in Dublin booked out.
"They weren't able to collect any of their belongings from the Metro Hotel and they're not sure if it was damaged. The hotel is being risk assessed so it could be some time before they can get their things back," a source said.
The shock of the night was fan favourite Evelyn Williams being sent home.
The Tallaght woman (81) was the talk of the country after her outstanding audition but she didn't manage to get enough votes after her semi-final performance.
Speaking ahead of her elimination, the singer admitted her heart goes out to the show's younger contestants who have made it to the final but may have their dreams crushed at the last hurdle.
"They all can't win and some will be disappointed. They won't be able to take it maybe because they're young and that's the sad part," she said.
Receiving the most votes from the public, the first act sent through was dance troupe Xquisite.
It came down to rapper Aaron J Hart and Irish dancers Atlantic Rhythm for the second place, with the judges sending through the Galway man to the final.
Highlights from the night included Atlantic Rhythm who performed trad music paired with Irish dancing.
They received a universally positive reception from the audience and the panel with judge Louis Walsh saying: "I can see you guys touring the world. It's just so brilliant."
Singer and pianist Affia Ni Fhaolain was praised as being better than Lana Del Rey in her audition and she turned out another outstanding performance in tonight's show, singing Black To Black by Amy Winehouse.
Judge Jason Byrne told her she deserved to be in the final but Louis told her she had to get rid of her nerves.
Ballroom act Xquisite received judge Denise Van Outen's Golden Buzzer and they ensured she wouldn't regret her decision, receiving a standing ovation after their performance to Love Generation.
The praise was almost too much for the group, with one young member breaking down in tears during the applause.
Aerial artist Ronan Brady was next up, hoisting himself in the air and performing with a Cyr Wheel.
After her outstanding audition, the pressure was on for Tallaght woman Evelyn Williams who performed You Don't Have To Say You Love Me by Dusty Springfield.
"You look so beautiful tonight. I teared up listening to that. Thank you so much," said judge Michelle Visage, who gave her the Golden Buzzer.
Sideshow freak Grim Squeeker both amused and terrified the audience by swallowing fire and snapping a mousetrap on his tongue.
However, he failed to impress Denise who gave him the red buzzer during his performance.
"It's just not for me. I like good, all-round family entertainment," she said.
Galway rapper Aaron J Hart performed an original rap for the audience alongside a choir and made Louis emotional for "bearing his soul" with a rap about his personal struggles about depression.
Closing the show was Tallaght man and reggae singer Philip Murphy who performed Looking In Your Big Brown Eyes by Bob Marley.
The judges' wildcard act will be announced on Friday and will also perform in Saturday's final.
The finale will air on TV3 at 7:30pm on Saturday.