A COLCHESTER dance student is celebrating after his group was fast-tracked to the semi-final of a popular reality TV contest.

Samuel Phillippo-Clapp was part of the dance company Phoenix Boys who received the “golden buzzer” when they took to the stage in front of hundreds of people to audition for ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent.

The dancers, who appeared on the show on Saturday, were left jumping for joy after Strictly Come Dancing legend Bruno Tonioli hit the golden buzzer so hard he smashed it.

The group boasts members from across the UK including Samuel, who has trained at The Company Performing Arts in Colchester and Clacton for eight years.

The 15-year-old said: “Dancing on the Palladium stage with so many talented male dancers was the most incredible feeling ever.

“But to hear the cannons go off and be surrounded by falling golden confetti was just the most magical moment. I cannot wait for the live shows now.”

A tearful Bruno said how the group reminded him of being a young male dancer.

Taking to the stage to hug and congratulate the Phoenix Boys he said: “I know how hard it is, what you do.

“People don’t really understand how hard it is to succeed as a dancer. The work that goes into it, the passion. And you literally do it for nothing. You do it for love. And I felt that.”

Gazette: Judge - Bruno TonioliJudge - Bruno Tonioli (Image: PA)

He added: “What really touches people is when you perform from the heart. It’s the truth of your performance. That’s what remains in people’s minds. And you touched me and I think you touched everybody here.”

Samuel’s mum, Rachel Phillippo-Green, said it was “just out of this world” to see her son audition for the judges.

Gazette: Dancer - Samuel Phillippo-ClappDancer - Samuel Phillippo-Clapp (Image: Visual Odyssey)

“It was pure joy to see all their hard work paying off,” she said. “It’s such a lovely group of boys and I’m so delighted for Samuel.”

Phoenix Boys will be appearing in the semi-finals between May 27 and May 30 and the group hopes to secure a place in the final on June 5.

Samuel is also joining the cast of SpongeBob The Musical for three performances in Woodbridge, Suffolk, next month.