My Big Break ... at 82; Retired Dance Teacher Shrugs off Cowell's Jibes to Win over X Factor Judges

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Byline: Richard Simpson Showbusiness News Editor

AT the less than tender age of 82, William Hooper has certainly left it late to break into showbusiness.

But the Essex pensioner proved to be a golden oldie by breezing through the audition round of The X Factor.

Simon Cowell was booed for making fun of the retired dance teacher on this week's episode.

Explaining to the prickly talent show judge why he was auditioning at such an age, Mr Hooper said: 'Well, this is my last chance.'

Cowell replied insensitively: 'Yeah, right - where would you be in seven, actually I'll shorten that, where would you be... I didn't mean it like that. Where would you be in three or four years' time?'

But the pensioner won approval for a fine performance of Frank Sinatra's Come Fly With Me and all of the judges, apart from Cowell, voted to put him through. Also wowing the judging panel on the ITV1 talent show was 25-year-old Essex boy Olly Murs, who performed Stevie Wonder's Superstition with a few fancy dance moves.

Judge Dannii Minogue told the singer he had the 'whole package' after he had finished.

But it was not good news for all of the contestants on Saturday night's show, which was watched by 12million viewers.

After winning over the judges with her personality, 17-year-old Demi Cullum's dreams were left in tatters after she was told she was just not good enough vocally.

After singing a mediocre rendition of Whitney Houston's hit Saving All My Love For You, blonde Demi was given a 'No' by three of the judges, with Louis Walsh saying: 'If this was a personality contest, you would get through. …