In 2007, dance teacher Dominic Chambers told Sampson that there were auditions in the area that would be right up his alley. He discovered he’d be auditioning for the first series of Britain’s Got Talent only when he arrived.
In his audition, he danced to “Drop” (Timbaland featuring Magoo & Fatman Scoop), receiving a yes vote from all three judges. However, despite Simon Cowell’s enthusiasm, he was unable to convince the other two judges, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan, to let Sampson proceed to the live semi-finals.
This experience made Sampson determined to re-audition the following year and prove Holden and Morgan wrong. In the intervening time, he continued dancing on the streets of Manchester to improve his technique, and to raise money for his family.
In 2008, George Sampson successfully got through the first round of Britain’s Got Talent series 2 auditions by dancing to “Rock This Party (Everybody Dance Now)”.
He then came top in the audience’s vote in his semi-final with his arrangement of Mint Royale’s big beat remix of “Singin’ in the Rain”, complete with an artificial rain machine on-stage, a formula that had previously been produced in a television advertisement for the Volkswagen Golf GTI. He subsequently won the audience’s vote in the final, beating dance duo Signature (second place) and Andrew Johnston (third place).
George Sampson was due to perform a different routine for the final, to a track by the Bee Gees, which he described as involving “a lot of movement without me actually doing anything”. An hour before the final started he changed his mind and, after consulting Simon Cowell, opted to re-perform his winning act from the semi-final.
The Mint Royale version of “Singin’ in the Rain” went to number 1 in the UK on download sales alone in the week following Sampson’s performance and Cowell’s label Syco had several requests for a video.