Dance troupe MerseyGirls have certainly made an memorable return to the Britain's Got Talent stage as they earned themselves a place in the grand final of the show's spin-off series The Champions.

It comes less than two years after judge Simon Cowell paid for spinal surgery for member Julia Carlile, who had been told she would never dance again after being treated for scoliosis.

The group earned a place in the final after the judges watched in amazement as Carlile performed back bends and back flips on stage during a high-energy routine.

Cowell told them: "It is one person's strength, and beyond that is the friendship and support; the fact you stayed together and supported each other and the fact you were able to came back tonight - it's everything."

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Discussing her previous appearance on BGT when the group reached the finals in 2017, Carlile said she had never told anyone about her back problems or shown her curved spine to others.

"I had always covered it up," she admitted. "It was so scary, I thought it was going to be the last time I was going to dance.

"I had my fusion surgery in the UK booked literally a month after Britain's Got Talent and I was told I would never be able to dance again.

"When Simon heard my story he said he would love to help me get my surgery in America so I could dance forever."

However she explained that she still had to learn to sit, walk and dance all over again after the operation.

After watching the performance, judge David Walliams said: "This is really emotional.

"We are all absolutely in bits, I'm sure the nation is too. Well done girls, every one of you made something really special."

The Mersey Girls first time around on BGT in 2017

Alesha Dixon, who hit the golden buzzer for the group in 2017, said: "If I had another golden buzzer I  would have pressed it again. When you did the back flip across stage it made my heart soar," while Amanda Holden hailed Carlile as "a walking miracle, a dancing, back-flipping miracle".

She added: "I think it's one of the most emotional performances we have ever had on the show and all you girls are absolutely outstanding dancers."

Overcome by emotion on stage Carlile replied: "I literally thought by now I would be at home, not dancing for the rest of my life.

"Here I am at Wembley, back flipping with my best friends, it's crazy.
"I couldn't walk two years ago and now I'm here."

The group were chosen for a place in the final by the live audience of super fans at Wembley, beating hopeful Jai McDowall, who won Britain's Got Talent in 2011 and last year's winner Lost Voice Guy.

Joining MerseyGirls in the final will be Germany's Got Talent winner Alexa Lauenburger and her dancing dogs, who earned their place after hosts Ant & Dec hit the golden buzzer.

They beat off competition from America's Got Talent finalist Deadly Games, Italy's Got Talent winner Antonio Sorgentone, Asia's Got Talent finalists Gao and Liu and America's Got Talent winner Paul Zerdin, as well as Britain's Got Talent finalists 100 Voices Of Gospel.