By Rya Backer
As news broke Saturday that overnight sensation Susan Boyle had come in second to the British dance troupe Diversity, the reaction of most people outside of the U.K. was: Who?
Diversity are an all-male dance group founded in 2007 consisting of 11 members, ages 13 to 25, and they hail from Essex, a county in the East of England. They're led by member Ashley Banjo, the group's choreographer, who's also a physics student. And they're gifted and incredibly dedicated to their craft.
While they didn't garner nearly as much press Stateside, the group earned more than enough accolades from the show's judges. "You are right up there with the best of the dancers we've seen," Piers Morgan told the group after their first performance at the London auditions. "What I just saw today was so inventive, so current ... I've never seen dance so imaginative, so creative, so entertaining," Cowell echoed. The performance earned them a callback, and though they didn't earn the audience's vote for a place in the finale — they performed during the same episode as Susan Boyle — they were voted in by judges Piers Morgan and Simon Cowell.
Their performance on the show's finale, where they were one of two dance groups performing (the other being London-based Flawless) was equally as praise-worthy, and ultimately brought in votes from more than just the judges. They performed a fast-paced routine set to such tunes as "Boom Boom Pow" and "Everybody Dance Now." "If I had to give marks on that, this would be the only performance tonight I would give a 10 to," Simon Cowell revealed, as an audience of nearly 18 million looked on.
At the show's end, it was between Boyle and the boys for the win, and despite the odds stacked against them, Diversity brought in almost 25 percent of the vote, compared to Boyle's roughly 20 percent. "They're very entertaining. Lads, I wish you all the best," Boyle admired, before she flashed a little leg and walked offstage.
So what's next for the group of IT workers, students, bathroom installers and telecom engineers? Well, they've got 100,000 pounds in prize money and an audience with the queen in December at the Royal Variety Show. Hope they can get the time off.