BGT semi finalist Leightonjay admits: “I used to lie to everyone and tell them I didn’t dance”

It’s time for the third Britain’s Got Talent semi final on Wednesday 29 May, and one of the acts taking to the stage in the hopes of going through to the final on Sunday 2 June is Leightonjay Halliday from Douglas in Scotland. The 23 year old impressed judges Bruno Tonioli, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Simon Cowell with his water-soaked, emotional dance to Kodi Lee’s Changes with his original performance in the final round of auditions.

In an interview with OK! a few hours before he was due back on stage for the live semi-final, Leightonjay revealed that when he was growing up he kept his dancing talents a secret from everyone to avoid being teased

Leightonjay Halliday
Leightonjay got a standing ovation after his audition -Credit:(Image: ITV)

“I loved Grease when I was young because the dancing in that is respected and cool, whereas growing up in Scotland it was the complete opposite – as a dancer I wasn’t really respected or cool at all,” he explains.

Leightonjay Halliday on BGT 26 May 2024
Leightonjay has captivated audiences with his dancing -Credit:Dymond/Thames/REX/Shutterstock

“I used to tell people that I didn’t dance, I used to lie to everyone and pretend I didn’t but then my mum would tag me in a post and then everyone would say ‘we’ve seen you on Facebook, you still dance’ which was c**p,” he says. “At one point I turned my tags off and reviewed posts so I could delete all my mums tags, but then it came to a point when I got older where i thought, ‘why am I doing this and pretending I’m not dancing, just to have other people’s approval?’”

Leightonjay first got into dancing when he accompanied his mum to his sister’s dance lessons at the age of 10. “My sister used to dance and I used to go along to class just to sit with my mum. One day I was annoying mum so much she said: ‘you need to leave me alone’ so I joined in with the class, and then my sister stopped dancing and I was begging my mum to still take me – she was so shocked that I still wanted to dance.”

Leightonjay Halliday
Leightonjay went through to the semi final following his dance audition -Credit:(Image: ITV)

His dream is to give other young people the chance to take up dancing, and he would use the £250,000 prize money if he wins to fund a dance school.

“Growing up I definitely had a lot of backlash about dancing. Ii know how it feels to feel so isolated and I want to use this platform [of Britain’s Got Talent] to inspire younger boys, to tell them you can keep going and not give up,” he says.

“If I won, I would use the money to fund projects I want to do with younger dancers to keep them in dancing – most people can’t afford dance so I want to make it affordable and make things easier – dance should be for everyone.”