Siberian dance group earn legions of new fans and will be known worldwide despite being unable to triumph in TV show
This article originally appeared in The Siberian Times
They won the hearts of the UK public, but sadly it was not quite enough for Team UDI to triumph in the grand finale of TV show Britain’s Got Talent.
More than 4.5million people voted during the live extravaganza, with the Siberian dance sensations finishing in 10th place of 12 acts behind the eventual winner, Jules O’Dwyer and her dog Matisse.
And while they missed out on the winner’s cheque of £250,000 (19 million roubles), and the chance to perform in front of the Queen, they are certain to go on to bigger things. It was their best performance of the season, with an awe-inspiring performance depicting good against evil, and had much of the audience on their feet.
Their routine - involving floating faces, fluttering birds that transformed into a bike, and flying dancers – was described as 'absolutely fantastic' by chief judge Simon Cowell. Fellow panellist David Walliams said: 'Wow. That was absolutely fantastic. Just when you thought we had seen the best from you, it gets better. It was magic'.
Singer Alesha Dixon told them it was 'so poignant and visually spectacular' while fourth judge Amanda Holden added: 'You stir up emotion in me. You do so much good in your community that you deserve a shot [at winning]'.
UDI was originally formed in Tomsk in 1998 by three friends Yuri Bakin, Igor Andrikevich and Denis Vishnyak. During each stage of the talent show, the trio had promised they would build a new gymnastic school for under-privileged children if they triumphed in this year’s series.
They have spent the past decade dedicating their time to working with orphans and other disadvantaged youngsters.
Addressing the British TV audience on Sunday night, the group members said being on the show was the 'biggest moment' of their lives. They added: 'We could never have dreamed something like this could happen to people like us'.
In an interview with the Siberian Times before leaving for London, Igor, 34, spoke about how they felt a great affinity to the under-privileged children they work with. He said: 'We have gone through this kind of thing ourselves and we know what it is like when you are deprived of attention, or when no one wants you.
'I was 10 years old when my father left the family. I don’t know where he is, or if he is alive. I was on the list of poor children and was helped with clothes, some of which were one size too big.
'At times I also had to keep an eye on my younger sister while my mother was working, and had to take her to kindergarten and pick her up again. It was tough.
'So, I believe it’s our duty to give an opportunity to these children at our school'.