Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Britain's richest street: The place by the palace, where the average house price is £19.5m

By ARTHUR MARTIN and JAMES MCMEEKIN

The figure is 93 times the national average house price of £205,985. Even a single square foot of land in the street would cost you £1,193.


They are beyond the reach of mere mortals. In fact, the homes in Kensington Palace Gardens would be too pricey even for many celebrities, bankers and lottery winners.

A string of eye-watering property deals has helped to turn it into Britain’s most expensive street.

The average price of a mansion in the affluent road in Kensington, West London, is an astonishing £19.2million, according to a study by property company Zoopla.

Britain’s richest man Lakshmi Mittal, a steel magnate worth £23.8billion, bought one of the houses for £57million from the Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone in 2004, and renamed it Taj Mittal.

Since then he has bought another home on an adjoining street for a record £117million from hedge fund tycoon Noam Gottesman.


Pricey: The Boltons in Kensington is among the most expensive streets it the UK. Just a single square foot of land in the London borough now costs £1,193


Residents of Kensington Palace Gardens also include Jon Hunt, who founded Foxtons estate agency which he sold for £390million in 2007.

An extraordinary subterranean playground is being built which will house a tennis court, health centre and a private motor museum for his six vintage Ferraris.


Keeping up with the Joneses: Nigella Lawson and Madonna are just two famous faces who call the borough of Kensington home


The property tycoon is thought to have rejected an offer of £200million for his eight-bedroom home from Mr Mittal’s son Aditya in 2008.

One of his even wealthier neighbours, Russian oligarch Leonid Blavatnik, is also building a massive underground extension for a swimming pool, gym and private cinema.

Mr Blavatnik, who has made at least £4.7billion in the oil business, outbid Mr Mittal and Roman Abramovich in 2004 with an offer of £41million for the 15-bedroom property.

The street’s allure is helped by Kensington Palace, set back from the road on the eastern side. The former home of Princess Diana is still the residence of several minor royals.


Both ends of the street are manned by armed Diplomatic Protection Group officers because it houses several embassies, including those of Israel and Russia.

As prices in the street soared in the past decade the makers of Monopoly chose it as the top square on the board ahead of Mayfair.


The second most expensive street is The Boltons, Kensington, where the average house is £13.3million, with Frognal Way, Camden, third at £10.6million. In fact the top ten expensive streets are all in London.

Virginia Water in Surrey - home to Wentworth Golf Club - is the seventh most expensive postal district in the country, with an average house price of £937,419.

The survey found 5,922 streets nationwide where the average home is more than £1million. Of these, 2,290 are in London, followed by 89 in Guildford and 78 in Cobham, both in Surrey.

Nick Leeming, from Zoopla.co.uk, said: 'Our study has found an enormous gulf between prices at the lowest and highest ends of the property market.

'A home in Britain's most exclusive street is beyond the wildest dreams of all but an extremely wealthy elite.

'At a whopping £19.2million, even National Lottery winners would now struggle to afford a house on Billionaire's Row.

'Those who aspire to live in a wealthy area, surrounded by celebrities, will also need a reality check.


Fashionable: Commuter hotspot Guildford, in Surrey, boasts 89 'million pound streets' - the second highest in the country


Footballers' wives territory: Cobham has the third highest number of 'million pound streets' in the country


'With a single square foot of land in Kensington costing £1,193, it is well out of the price range of your typical British homeowner.

'People have always been obsessed with the value of their home as well as those of neighbours, friends and family.

'Our rich list will give those who live on streets near the top of the list some serious bragging rights.'




source: dailymail

ABQ Still Flatlining; We Round Up The Latest, Plus: Scandal Watch--Readers Keep Critical Eye On Murphy Case, And: John Sanchez: Not Senate Material?

After sixty years of almost always hard-charging growth the ABQ metro remains in an historic and extended flat phase commercially, culturally and politically. And no wonder. The state reports that for 31 consecutive months--that is nearly three years--the area has reported negative job growth. Now the unemployment rate has finally started to dip, but not because there are jobs, but because the unemployed are leaving or have dropped out of the labor force. In other words, we are shrinking. From the state:

The Albuquerque...unemployment rate dipped to 8.0 percent in April, a 0.5 percentage point decline from March. Much of the over-the-month improvement in the jobless rate...was due to a shrinking civilian labor force, as large decreases in unemployment were combined with much smaller increases in employment. This was also the case for the state as a whole during the same period. The unemployment rate in the Albuquerque MSA stood at 8.6 percent a year ago....


The life-changing recession has flattened city tax revenue, trimmed business profits and seen an heretofore unheard of decline in government jobs--the very spine of the city's economic body.

The city is adrift, in part, because its public and private leadership doesn't seem particularly engaged. When it comes to jobs, ABQ has long been a low expectations town. People make do. And although this recession is as persistent as they come, the city has generated just enough revenue to keep vital public services going without a major malfunction. The economic foundation may be shaky, but it is slowly revealing itself over years, not months.

Culturally, the city remains vibrant on a certain level, but the demise of the NM Symphony signaled a retrenchment. The city's philanthropic class was AWOL. But then the political leadership never bothered to engage them in fighting to preserve a major cultural amenity in a city that can ill-afford to lose one.

Republican leadership seems more fitting for boom times, not a prolonged downturn. The party's traditional prescription to spur economic growth--tax cuts and less regulation--are intellectually exhausted. But you can't say the Dems are brimming with ideas, either. So we wait for the next big thing that will move the needle on the ABQ growth meter.

And we wait.

SCANDAL WATCH

Is it one of the biggest judicial scandals in state history or a tempest in a teapot? That's the question we've examined ever since special prosecutor Matt Chandler announced the indictment of Las Cruces District Court Judge Michael Murphy. It is claimed the judge bribed his way onto the bench with a $4,000 contribution to Governor Richardson. But the case as outlined so far is murky at best and continues to draw a critical eye from readers here,

Pat Davis, a Democrat and former spokesman for the Bernalillo County district attorney's office, chimes in today with this critique of Governor Martinez's involvement:

The prosecutor’s report, relied on heavily by the media to explain this case, notes that Governor Martinez, then Dona Ana County district attorney, learned of the investigation in the fall of 2010 and turned it over to Ninth District District Attorney Matt Chandler. However, in a recent Sunday’s Journal article, Gov. Martinez’s spokesman Gregg Blair told the paper, “The governor stopped speaking to Edgar Lopez when Judge (Lisa) Schultz informed her in 2009 that he was the bag man in the alleged bribery scheme involving Richardson judicial appointees,”....

My question is, which is it? If Martinez knew of alleged improprieties in the judicial selection process in 2009, why did she do nothing? It would seem that Martinez has an ethical obligation to report misconduct, especially if it involves judges she and her office appear in front of.


Having worked with our District Attorneys for several years, a number of things about this prosecution seem unusual to me. I find it highly irregular that a reporter--Heath Haussamen--was present (and allowed to remain) outside the grand jury to photograph and interview each witness to the grand jury and that the very same reporter was the first one to receive a copy of the full investigator’s report and indictment and post them online.


In either case, the allegations are serious, but it is hard to argue that the matter is being seriously prosecuted when the then DA, and now governor, knew of the alleged discrepancies as early as a year before and failed to raise the flag, even as she used the same judicial selection process to pick her first two appointees (both her former deputies, including one who gave $600 to Martinez just months before his appointment).

It has some wondering whether Martinez's highly-touted ethics are situational --"on" when they can be used to score political points, but "off" or "neutral" when it serves some personal purpo
se.

The Sunday Journal article Davis cited is not posted on the paper's web site.

THE SENATE RACE

Ari Fleischer, the former press secretary to President Bush and before that NM Senator Pete Domenici, will headline a June 14 fund-raiser for GOP Senate hopeful Heather Wilson.

Fleischer is now in sports communication and had a brief stint with Tiger Woods but the two soon parted ways. Too bad. Heather could use a nice big donation from Tiger with John Sanchez breathing down her neck.

Wilson's campaign also says:

Since March 7 when Wilson announced her candidacy, over 100 New Mexico leaders have endorsed her candidacy. 11 of 15 sitting Republican State Senators have publicly endorsed Wilson as have 15 sitting Republican House Members, county commissioners and local officials from all regions of the state.

But a caveat. Wilson had many of the same "leaders" endorse her when she lost the 2008 Senate nomination to Steve Pearce.

NOT SENATE MATERIAL?


Heather has to prove that she has expanded her base within the GOP and her rival, Lt. Governor John Sanchez, has to establish more credibility. Sanchez served as a trustee for the village of Los Ranchos early in his political career. A former Democratic mayor there, John Hooker, makes this case against the Light Guv's candidacy:

John has a solid reputation as a roofing contractor. Beyond that, exactly what has he done in his civic leadership?

--Passive trustee of the mighty village of Los Ranchos? What improvements to the quality of life of the village did he initiate?


--A giant-killer who was elected state representative in 2000 over Dem House Speaker Raymond Sanchez in a Republican-trending House district. Then what? What significant legislation did he lead on?


--A good looking Hispanic Republican beating out the Anglo Republicans for Guv Light? And that proves....?

Sorry to be so skeptical. John's a nice guy, I would hire his company on a construction project (and in fact have). I just would not call him Senate material.


THE BOTTOM LINES

Greg Payne's ABQ city council candidacy appears to have hit a pothole. Payne has withdrawn his effort to qualify for public financing of his campaign. He needed to receive 400 contributions of $5 each, but reports to the city he only collected about 80 donations by Tuesday's deadline. That means he will have to raise private money in his bid to unseat GOP Councilor Trudy Jones in the NE Heights that Payne, also a Republican, used to represent. Jones did not seek to qualify for public financing.

The Berry administration has lined up in Jones' corner, knowing that an independent Republican like Payne would upset the Mayor's delicate 5-4 GOP majority on the nine member panel.

City finance laws are tough. A candidate can't accept money from any contractor or vendor who does business with the city so Payne now faces a tougher road ahead. Still, a city council race can be won on shoe leather and that's where he could have an advantage.

Payne would have received about $40,000 in public financing. Jones, who has personal wealth and a deep list of biz contacts, has to be feeling pretty good right about now.

From the email:

Strategies 360 (a consulting firm) is expanding its reach to New Mexico with the addition of Chris Cervini, former chief of staff for New Mexico’s Lieutenant Governor. As Vice President of New Mexico operations, Chris will open and run the new Albuquerque office for the strategic communications firm headquartered in Seattle.


This is the home of New Mexico politics.

E-mail your news and comments. Interested in advertising here? Drop us a line.

(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2011
Not for reproduction without permission of the author

A rare and beautiful sight: A spectacular end to a sunny Memorial Day

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

Urban phenomenon: The sun shines down on 42nd Street at the end of Memorial Day during the biannual occurrence coined 'Manhattanhenge' by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson


One of the most beautiful things in nature must surely be the sun rising and setting.

When that sunset happens to align with a street grid, basking a city that never sleeps in a radiant glow of light, even busy New Yorkers would be pushed not to stop and marvel at its brilliance.

It's that time of year again known as 'Manhattanhenge' - when the sun aligns precisely with the street grid in Manhattan, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough's grid.


Sun rising up: Manhattanhenge occurs when the setting sun aligns itself with the east-west grid of streets in Manhattan, allowing the sun to shine down all streets at the same time


This special day - also known as Manhattan solstice - comes twice a year. This year it falls on May 30 and July 12 - when the sun sets with half the disc sitting above and half below the horizon. Though fans can also enjoy the spectacular views on May 31 and July 11 when at sunset, you can see the entire ball of the sun on the horizon.

The times are calculated every year by the astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, who coined the term 'Manhattanhenge' in 2002, named after the British Stonehenge, which celebrates summer and winter solstice.

Though in New York it does not signal the solstice - the changing of the season - due to the position of Manhattan's grid.


Beautiful: This occurs in Manhattan due to a clear view to the horizon beyond the grid - across the Hudson River to New Jersey - as well as the tall buildings that line the streets, creating a vertical channel to frame the sun


Mr deGrasse Tyson explains: 'In spite of what pop-culture tells you, the sun rises due east and sets due west only twice per year on the equinoxes - the first day of spring and of autumn. Every other day, the sun rises and sets elsewhere on the horizon.

'Had Manhattan's grid been perfectly aligned with the geographic north-south line, then the days of Manhattanhenge would coincide with the equinoxes. But Manhattan's street grid is rotated 30 degrees east from geographic north, shifting the days of alignment elsewhere into the calendar.'

Mr deGrasse Tyson notes that the dates correspond with Memorial day and Baseball's All Star Break.

He said: 'Future anthropologists might conclude that, via the sun, the people who called themselves Americans worshipped war and baseball.'


Namesake: Manhattanhenge is named after Stonehenge in England when the sun Sun rises in perfect alignment with several of the stones, signaling the change of season



Last year: The sun illuminates New York's 34th Street during 2010's Manhattanhenge as well as the city's iconic Empire State Building


He explains that the reason this unique urban phenomenon occurs in Manhattan is due to a clear view to the horizon beyond the grid - as New York does across the Hudson River to New Jersey. Combine that with the tall buildings which line the streets, creating a vertical channel to frame the sun and you get a rare and striking photographic opportunity.

To get the best view of this rare and beautiful sight, sun watchers need to be as far east in Manhattan as possible and look west across the avenues.

The best places to get a view are the Empire State or Chrysler buildings as well as along 14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th Streets.

Tonight, Manhattanites can view the full ball of the sun at 8.17pm for about ten minutes.


source: dailymail

Pussycat Nicole Scherzinger shows a softer side as she hugs fans... after getting her claws into Cheryl Cole's X Factor job

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

Me, ruthless? Nicole Scherzinger, who is set to replace Cheryl Cole as a judge on the U.S. X Factor, puts on an affectionate show with fans outside her hotel in Paris, France, today


Nicole Scherzinger has struggled to wipe the smug grin off her face since managing to snare Cheryl Cole's U.S. X Factor job last week.

But perhaps the Machiavellian singer, who has been promoted from co-host to judge in the wake of Cole's sacking, was attempting to show a softer side today as she put on an affectionate display with fans.

The former Pussycat Doll put on her best smile as she greeted a small crowd of young supporters, who were waiting for her outside her hotel in Paris, France.


Check me out: The singer showed off her toned figure in a form-fitting beige dress and thigh-skimming animal print bots


The 32-year-old star look perfectly groomed in a form-fitting asymmetrical beige dress, teamed with thigh-skimming animal print boots.

Of course, Nicole is no stranger to ruffling feathers.

Back in 2009 the Pussycat Dolls, of which she was the frontwoman, imploded amid reports of infighting and jealously.

The other girls were said to be bitter about Scherzinger's rising profile - while all they got to do was be her backing dancers.

Nicole has since admitted she has not remained in touch with her former gal pals - Carmit Bachar, Melody Thornton, Jessica Sutta, Ashley Roberts and Kimberly Wyatt.

She is now focused on her solo career and, of course, the U.S. X Factor and the exposure it will give her.


Moving on up: Nicole pictured last month with Cole (R), Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, LA Ried and Steve Jones (L)


Last December, Scherzinger coolly glossed the acrimony between herself and other members of the Pussycat Dolls, merely saying rows were 'inevitable'.

Nicole flew to Europe a few days ago to support her motor racing driver boyfriend in the Monaco Grand Prix.



Queen bee: As the former frontwoman of the Pussycat Dolls, Nicole isn't used to taking second place


source: dailymail

Don't you know who I am? Corrie's Helen Flanagan refused entry into Scott's Swansea match... despite being a WAG

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER


But I'm a WAG! Helen Flanagan argues with Wembley senior safety supervisors to try and be let back into the Swansea football match


Helen Flanagan might be a premiership WAG now, but staff supervisors at Wembley didn’t recognise the Coronation Street star at her boyfriend’s match yesterday.

The 20-year-old actress went to watch Scott Sinclair play for Swansea in yesterday’s play off against Reading, but was refused entry into the stadium.


She's on Corrie! Fans stepped in to tell security who she is


The star, who plays Rosie Webster in Corrie, left the stadium during the match and when she tried to return, security staff didn’t want to let her back in.

Fans stepped up to defend Sinclair’s girlfriend though and after convincing staff she was who she said she was, they eventually escorted her back in.

Luckily she managed to catch the end of the match, during which her boyfriend scored a hat-trick that has sent Swansea into the Premier League.


Thanks guys! Helen finally talked her way into their good books and was let back into the match


The 22-year-old footballer has been dating 20-year-old Flanagan for 18 months.
They met while the striker was on loan to Wigan from Chelsea and was living in Manchester.

But it seems the WAG hasn’t become as well-known yet as fellow footballer’s girlfriends by stadium staff.


Happy couple: Helen Flanagan and Scott Sinclair on a date in Manchester in April this year


Man of the match: Scott Sinclair of Swansea celebrates after scoring



Co-stars: Helen seen out last week in Manchester with her Corrie co-star Brooke Vincent

source: dailymail

How not to look classy! TOWIE's Lydia Bright wears Kate's dress but looks less than stylish

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

Not classy! Lydia Bright tried to recreate the same ensemble as Kate today, she did not quite pull off the look


Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge turned heads in her £175 beige Reiss dress last week but when Lydia Bright tried to recreate the same ensemble today, she did not quite pull off the look.

The Only Way Is Essex star was spotted strutting into a London office with a Selfridges bag in tow, wearing the same high street dress as Kate.

But instead of displaying a classic royal style, Lydia’s ill-fitting dress was not flattering and the Essex girl even had VPL.

Just like Kate, she also paired the above-the-knee number with black heels but Lydia’s clunky shoes were anything but dainty.


At least the handbag's different! Lydia wears the same Reiss dress and black heels like Kate but carries a different bag


The camel-coloured ‘Shola’ design is from one of the Duchess’s favourite brands and she wore the Reiss frock to meet Barack and Michelle Obama during their UK visit last week.

After the new bride showed off her impeccable figure in the design, the fashion chain’s website crashed and the dress sold out within 24 hours.


VPL: Lydia was displaying visible panty line through the dress as we caught a glimpse of her underwear


Obviously Lydia was one of the women to flock to the site to quickly grab herself the same dress.

After the mania, it was advertised on eBay for £600 and a £30 copy is being prepared by Tesco.

Reiss then announced that the dress will be re-released in five to six weeks to cater for the demand.


Special occasion: Kate wore her Reiss dress last week while meeting Michelle Obama (right) and President Obama


But after more investigation into the British fashion chain, it was found that the original Reiss dress was manufactured by women paid only 99p an hour in a poor suburb of Romania’s capital.

It was produced for less than £15 by seamstresses earning significantly less than the average salary for textile workers in the Eastern European nation.

The 170 employees of clothing firm Rimcor Ex work in a factory which resembles an industrial compound with bars on the windows, 8ft walls and solid metal fences.


Red carpet glamour: Lydia looking lovely at the Bafta TV Awards with on/off boyfriend James Argent


But the average high street shopper is no doubt blissfully unaware of how their favourite dresses find their way onto the shelves.

Lydia Bright was back in London after her recent trip to Marbella, Spain, with the rest of her cast-mates from The Only Way Is Essex.

And despite her underwear being on show through the ill-fitting dress, her holiday tan did suit the beige frock nicely.




source: dailymail

Who was Pippa Middleton's charming companion? After living high life in Paris, she is accompanied by mystery Frenchman

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

Secret admirer? Pippa Middleton is spotted with a French friend during her trip to Paris earlier this week


As she watched the tennis, Pippa ‘high-fived’ a dashing male admirer.

And the same Frenchman was with her later as, with a large group of friends, she went for dinner at the exclusive Le Cinq Mars restaurant.

Afterwards the group went on to the achingly trendy Montana Club, frequented by every major celebrity who finds themselves in Paris, including Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and Lenny Kravitz.

Pippa and her friends stayed out clubbing until 2am before heading for her apartment.


High Five! Alongside other friends, the pair laugh and celebrate as they watch the tennis


Once again, the attractive brunette was accompanied by her mystery escort.

But when asked by a photographer if he was a boyfriend of Pippa’s, he was quick to reply: ‘No! Just a friend.’


Just friends: Miss Middleton and her friend share a joke on court. He has insisted the pair are 'just friends'


Pippa is said to be ‘seriously’ dating former professional cricketer turned City broker Alex Loudon, an Eton-educated friend of Prince William.

But although he attended both Kate’s confirmation in March and her wedding to William last month, he and Pippa haven’t been pictured together for several weeks.


Pippa Pops Up at the French Open as William and Kate Reveal North America Plans!


source: dailymail

Pippa's Paris freebie: VIP treatment at the tennis tournament for Kate's sister

By REBECCA ENGLISH

VIP treatment: Pippa Middleton receives a book from Xavier Peugeot during her freebie trip to watch the tennis in Paris


Sitting centre stage at the French Open on Monday, she appeared to be having a ball. And no wonder.

For Pippa Middleton was enjoying what those in the business like to call a ‘freebie’, courtesy of leading car firm Peugeot, which sponsors the Paris tennis tournament.

Indeed so excited was the company at its coup that news of the younger Middleton sister’s arrival in the Roland Garros VIP enclosure was plastered over the competition’s official programme yesterday with the headline: ‘Pippa à Roland! Sensation!’


Best seats in the house: Pippa could barely hide her delight as she watched the action through her Gucci sunglasses at Roland Garros


Her host Xavier Peugeot, who is the great, great grandson of one of the original founders of the firm, Armand, ensured the moment was captured for posterity.

Mr Peugeot, who is the family firm’s director of marketing and communications, even presented the new Duke of Cambridge’s sister-in-law with a lavishly bound book charting the 200-year history of the brand.

A coquettish Pippa – who normally drives a BMW Z4 – looked delighted to receive it.

The six-day trip saw Kate’s little (and some would say wildly more ambitious) sister arrive on Eurostar in Paris on Thursday for a few days’ sightseeing, with everything done in the best possible taste.

It will, however, raise questions about whether it is wise for her to be seen ‘cashing in’ on her sister’s new found celebrity.


Swanky: Pippa stayed for part of her holiday at a luxury apartment in the super chic - and eye-wateringly expensive - Rue de Varenne


Her seats at the Roland Garros tournament on Monday were some of the best in the house and Pippa, 27, who is herself a formidable player, couldn’t hide her delight as she watched the on-court action through a pair of tinted Gucci sunglasses.

A Peugeot source said: ‘Pippa was invited to Roland Garros by a friend who was a guest in the Peugeot VIP area hosted by Xavier. Once they realised who she was, she was introduced to a number of influential people. As a high profile and distinguished guest Xavier was keen to give her a gift to mark the firm’s bicentenary.’

The tennis tournament’s organisers were clearly also cock-a-hoop at the publicity Pippa’s visit afforded them, with the event’s daily newsletter picturing her on the front.


source: dailymail

Blink if you've had more Botox, Simon: Millions of Britain's Got Talent viewers shocked by Cowell's face

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

Droopy: Britain's Got Talent fans were quick to point out Simon Cowell's wilting eye and a small bruise by his cheekbone. Right, as he usually looks


He admits being vain, so perhaps Simon Cowell should avoid watching any repeats of Britain’s Got Talent.

Millions of viewers were shocked by the music mogul’s drooping left eye during the live semi-finals of the ITV show on Monday night – thought to be caused by Botox treatment.

It was the first time Cowell, 51, had been seen on British TV since the X Factor final in December, and fans were quick to point out his wilting eye and a small bruise by his cheekbone.


Homecoming: Cowell joined judges for the Britain's Got Talent semi-final


A show source said: ‘Simon had overdone things a little with the Botox and it soon showed up on camera – especially as we film in high definition, which is particularly unforgiving.

'During the break between shows, the producers were quick to change the lighting over the judging panel.

'Simon was not happy.’


Exasperation: Cowell and the BGT judges. Cowell once described Botox as 'no more unusual than toothpaste'


One Twitter user wrote: ‘Whoever did Simon Cowell’s Botox wants sacking. Droopy left eye lid and bruising!’

Plastic surgeon Rajiv Grover said: ‘There can be noticeable sagging around the eyes and brow area in older men if Botox is used, because they have heavier brows which tend to sag before many women.’

Cowell once described Botox – which is injected into the face and forehead to relax frown lines – as ‘no more unusual than toothpaste’.


Monster moobs: Simon Cowell showed off his man boobs with a shirt almost open to his navel at the Britain's Got Talent semi-finals yesterday


Chest awful: The head judge appeared to think he'd nailed his look, however, and gave waiting fans a 'V for victory' sign as he had a cigarette outside the studios


Earlier Cowell took his manly display of chest a few buttons too far on outside the BGT studios.

The star had unbuttoned his white shirt under his pale grey suit almost to his navel to show off his he-vage - male cleavage - in a style so Seventies all that was missing was a medallion.

Cowell displayed his macho man look outside the BGT studios as he enjoyed a cigarette with ex girlfriend Jackie St Claire, 52.

source: dailymail

Oops, she did it again! Saucy Britney Spears impersonator gets second chance on BGT semi-final- but still gets three 'nos'

By JODY THOMPSON

Not that innocent: Britney Spears impersonator was on the Britain's Got Talent second live semi-final tonight - despite being voted off by all three judges at her audition


She caused controversy for getting through to the Britain's Got Talent semi-finals despite getting buzzed off by all three judges in auditions - but Britney Spears impersonator Lorna Bliss was back on the show tonight for another Toxic performance.

The 30-year-old wannabe singer sparked accusations of a fix when she was put through despite being voted off in auditions for her racy near-naked routine which finished with her draping herself across the judges' desk.

But despite being given a second chance, she threw her opportunity away tonight with some dodgy dance moves and seriously wobbly singing and got voted off for the final time.


Red hot: But despite the bikini followed by the red PVC jacket and hat, Lorna didn't impress the judges with her performance


The winners of the show were talented boyband New Bounce and boogie woogie pianist Jean Martyn.

Before Lorna even took to the stage for a second time however, bosses had gone to great lengths to explain to baffled viewers why she had been reinstated in the first place.

Hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly asked judge Amanda Holden to explain and she blamed it on co-judge David Hasselhoff.

She said: 'When we were doing the deliberation about which acts to put through, we realised something was missing from the show.


Throwing it away: The Britney impersonator ditched her hat - and any chance of being in Saturday's grand final if the judges have their way


'The Hoff realised it was Lorna Bliss, so the Hoff started it and I'm sure Simon will finish it.'

Lorna, who claims to have spent £150,000 over the years to look like her idol, then took to the stage to impersonate Britney when she made her infamous MTV VMAs appearance singing Slave 4 U in 2001 - complete with yellow snake.

She was also wearing a replica costume of the skimpy green bikini top with blue big pants with added blue and green tassels that the star wore for her now iconic performance.


Need a lift? But the Britney impersonator was dumped by the judges after her second time on the show


She then did a quick change into red PVC to reprise a version of Oops, I Did It Again - but despite the costumes and backing dancers, her thin voice failed to hit many of the notes and her choreography was lacking yet again.

Simon buzzed her off first, before fellow judges David and Michael McIntyre followed suit.

Previously, show fans were up in arms about her being allowed back on the show again.

Britain's Got Talent is on every day this week on ITV1 at 7.30pm and 9.30pm, as the further acts are whittled down to qualify for Saturday's final - and the chance to win £100,000 and play for The Queen at the Royal Variety Performance in December.


Lorna Bliss - Britains Got Talent Live Semi-Final - 2011



source: dailymail

'Next JLS' boyband New Bounce win through to final in second live Britain's Got Talent semi along with pianist Jean Martyn

By JODY THOMPSON

New talent: Boyband New Bounce are now being tipped to win Britain's Got Talent after winning the second semi final


A boyband being dubbed as the 'new JLS' were the clear winners on the second Britain's Got Talent semi final tonight.

New Bounce were the resounding success of the evening with the studio audience giving them a standing ovation for their high-energy rendition of Jessie J's Price Tag.

They were then voted straight through to Saturday's grand final after winning the biggest public vote, after getting a resounding thumbs up from all four judges.


Runaway winners: New Bounce were given the most votes by the public - and now have the chance to win £100,000 and a slot on the bill at the Royal Variety Performance


The young boys - Mitchell, Jame, MJ and Kwan - were hailed by head judge Simon Cowell as the best act he'd seen since he'd reclaimed his judging seat for the show for the semi-finals.

He enthused: 'This is the first time in two days I've seen an act that can actually be successful in the real world.

'I love these four guys. It was very dated, your first audition, like your parents had chosen your song, but this time, it felt like you'd chosen your song.


OMG! New Bounce looked shocked when they were told by show hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly that they'd won through to the finals - despite being told by Simon Cowell and David Hasselhoff they could win the whole competition


'Yes, there were a few vocals out, but it's live TV. Let me tell you something right now, you are the ones to beat.'

Fellow judge Amanda Holden meanwhile compared the boys to X Factor success story JLS, arguably the biggest boy band in Britain.

She gushed: 'We gave you that second chance, you proved us right tonight, finally, JLS have got some competition, congratulations!'


Tinkling the ivories: All the judges fell in love with Jean's infectious smile during her rock'n'roll routine on the piano


Tense: The top three from the show, as voted for by the public - New Bounce (L), Jean Martyn (C) and David and Karen (R) waited to find out which of them would go through


Magic fingers: Boogie woogie pianist Jean Martyn showed her delight when BGT co-host Ant McPartlin told her she'd gone through to the final


David Hasselhoff was equally impressed, saying: 'Tonight, you were unbelievable. I am so, so proud of you, you went back and did your homework and man, you could win this competition!'

On the results show, the youngsters could only clutch their faces in disbelief when they were told by show hosts Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly that they were going straight through and say: 'Speechless!

They beat magic act David and Karen and boogie woogie pianist Jean Martyn who were also voted into the top three by the public.


Voted off: Enchantment's angelic-looking performer couldn't save them from failing to reach the BGT finals



Not so magic: Enchantment failed to wow the judges with their circus acrobatics-meets-opera mash up


Not purrfect: Simon said he couldn't understand what Enchantment's act was actually about


However, when deciding between David and Karen and Jean, all four judges plumped for the 59-year-old from Staffordshire with the infectious grin and her keyboard skills.

She joins New Bounce to go through to Saturday's grand final and the chance to win £100,000 and a place on the bill at December's Royal Variety Performance where they will play for The Queen.

They join 12-year-old singer Ronan Parke and pianist Paul Gbegbaje from last night.


Fancy footwork: But jazz dance trio Two And A Half Men failed to go through to the final despite being a hit with the judges


Great heights: But despite actually standing up and dancing this time round, Irish hoofers Up And Over it were out of the competition


The night had opened with jazz dance act Two And Half Men, two Lithuanians and a South African.

Wearing pin stripe suits, red ties and matching braces, they got the show off to a high energy start and had impressed all four judges.

Simon spoke for the panel when he said: 'I thought it was terrific. It's kind of old school and very well rehearsed.'

However, there was disappointment and bemusement on the panel for the next act, Enchantment, described as one of the 'weirdest' acts on this year's show by Dec.


Making a splash: David And Karen's daredevil underwater magic stunt actually won Simon round and they were voted into the top three - but just missed out to Jean Martyn when they panel made their final decisions


As a top-hatted man sang opera, other members of the crew roller skated around, span from hoops while some pretended to be cats.

Amanda said afterwards: 'I was really disappointed guys I'm so sorry, The first audition was amazing but tonight you let yourselves down.'

Simon concurred saying: 'The whole things was totally mad, you've got lions and tigers and someone bouncing in the middle, it was like the Magic Roundabout that I used to watch when I was little. I don't get this, I'm sorry.'



Take that Hoff! David Hasslehoff arrived in a mask of his own face when he arrived at the studios for the show - but soon revealed his real self


During the break Amanda was clearly bored by them as she went on her Twitter to post up a picture of Simon eating a Curly Wurly.

They appeared to be the least successful of the night's eight entrants, along with Britney Spears impersonator Lorna Bliss and Irish hand dancing double act Up And Over It.

Van Morrison's former backing guitarist Herbie Armstrong was more successful however singing a version of Barry Manilow's Mandy.


Head honcho: Simon was keeping cool in mirrored aviators as he left his London home ahead of the second semi-final and arrived at the studios


Getting swishy with it: Amanda meanwhile arrived in style on the back of a motorbike and flicked her blonde locks back into shape as she took her helmet off


Simon however thought he was too karaoke, saying: 'You've got a nice voice, a nice tone to your voice, but you're a bit sad, like a singing bloodhound. I like bloodhounds so I'm not being rude.

'But that was aboslutely not the right song for you. You should have done something a bit less karaoke a bit more cool, as you're still a very cool guy, so I think it was a bit of a wasted opportunity. But I do like you.'


On song: Amanda Holden got out in front of the judging desk to perform as Princess Fiona with the West End cast of Shrek The Musical


Grudging praise: Head judge Simon said it was 'really annoying' how good Amanda and the cast were for their performance of The Monkees' I'm A Believer


However, the head judge was forced to admit he rated the act performing in the the live results show - Amanda in her role as Princess Fiona with the cast of the new West End musical version of Shrek.

With an almost pained look on his face, he said: 'You were actually a better singer than your wife. This is really, really. really annoying, you were very good Amanda, and so were the whole cast.'

Guests for the second semi-final meanwhile included Peter Andre and Stacey Solomon.


Checking out the competition? Peter Andre, left, and Stacey Solomon, right were both in the audience for the show


Britain's Got Talent is on every day this week on ITV1 at 7.30pm and 9.30pm, as the further acts are whittled down to qualify for Saturday's final.


Ronan Parke Britain's Got Talent 2011



Britains Got Talent - Semi Final 2011 - Up & Over It



Briatns Got talent NEW BOUNCE sings price tag 2011 semi finals



Jean Martyn - Britains Got Talent Live Semi-Final - 2011



Britans Got Talent-2011 Amazing 2 and a half men live Show



Enchantment - Britain's Got Talent Live Semi-Final, click


source: dailymail