Cheeky chappy Ricky K has done something few comics have managed before - he made Simon Cowell laugh.
The Sheffield entertainer had the judging panel in stitches with a comedy mime act for his Britain’s Got Talent audition.
And since his audition was screened on Saturday, he has been inundated with messages of support from friends, family and fans in South Yorkshire and across the country.
The 33-year-old, from Mosborough, said: “I’ve had to keep it a secret but as soon as it was shown on TV my phone hasn’t stopped going off.
“It was so hard not telling anybody about it - every time I wanted to tell someone I ate a custard cream!
“The hardest part was not being able to tell my family. I knew they would be proud but I wanted it to be a surprise.”
Ricky K - or Richard Calow - entered BGT after being persuaded by his singer girlfriend, Clare Jones, aged 28.
A week after attending an open audition in London, he was invited to try out in front of the famous judging panel in Birmingham.
His comedy routine - in which he told a love story through mime, funny faces, dodgy dance moves and some marvellous music choices - earned him ‘Yes’ votes from David Walliams, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Simon Cowell.
Cowell told him: “When you walked out in that suit and I thought you’re going to do jokes I was absolutely dreading it. But it really made me laugh out loud. I liked it a lot.”
Ricky, who grew up in Beighton, began entertaining at an early age. His mum sent him to dancing lessons from the age of four and by 17 he was working as a Red Coat in Scarborough.
“At school my mum said I was always very extrovert,” he said.
“Everyone knew I was a cheeky chappy. I always had a smiley face and would make people laugh.”
After a year in Scarborough, Ricky began entertaining tourists at resorts in Greece and other popular holiday destinations.
He eventually came up with his stage name Ricky K - ‘it’s nothing to do with the cereal, it just sounded better than Ricky C’ - and took his singing and dancing shows to venues around South Yorkshire and beyond.
Gradually, more comedy made its way into his performances and he came up with the routine he used for his BGT audition about two years ago with help from friend Jack Glanville.
With the support of Clare, his friends and family and his Doncaster-based manager, Elaine Hunt, he is now working on ideas for a new routine in case he gets through to the next round.
n Find out if Ricky is through to the semi-final on Sunday from 7pm on ITV1.