Ahead of tonight's brand new series of Britain's Got Talent, we had a chat with last year's champion Jules O'Dwyer to find out just what she and Matisse have been up to since winning the show.
So, what was it like mingling with the stars at the Royal Variety Performance? Has the fame gone to Matisse's head? And, does she think she can train Simon's dogs Squiddly and Diddly?
Find out below...
Her newfound fame has taken a bit of getting used to!
When asked how her life has changed since winning BGT, Jules said: "I’ve gained a lot of confidence, but I've always had confidence in my dogs ability. I’ve always been very low-profile and consider myself to be really normal. I’m not one to push myself into the spotlight so that was new for me, that was a real learning curve. To have fans running up to you and wanting selfies from the dogs. That’s taken a bit of getting used to. On the whole, it has been really positive and surprising how many people appreciate what I’ve actually achieved with my dogs and that is of course, fantastic."
Matisse is same dog he was before
Despite stealing the show, Jules was keen to point out that Matisse hasn't let fame go to his head... although he does like the attention! She claimed: "He is absolutely the same dog. He never gets tired of attention, he greets every person, even after 100 people, as a long lost friend and he’s got attention for everybody. That's why he was my hero dog because he has such a special character and he’s adorable."
The Royal Variety Performance was "very special"
Speaking of her stint on stage at the Royal Variety Performance, Jules revealed: "It was a bit daunting going to the Royal Variety and performing for such an important audience, with eight dogs on a small podium! It was the first time I was actually really nervous. During rehearsals, I was panicking because the act wasn’t going right and the dogs weren’t doing what they were supposed to be doing. Luckily for me, my dogs didn’t let me down and they pulled it off, so I was very relieved. Maybe putting eight dogs on a small stage wasn’t the best thing to do as it turns out, we did ok. It was very special. It was just fabulous to be there, walking down the halls and passing big stars. Being amongst them was just mind-blowing."
She was starstruck by everybody
With the likes of Royalty in the building, Jules admitted that meeting the Prince really made her year! She added: "I thought Elton John was fabulous, he brought his children to meet the dogs. It really surprised me how normal, friendly, open and sociable big stars can be. It was fabulous just to meet people like Elton. He was just like the normal guy next door. Kylie Minogue also couldn’t pass the dogs without giving them attention and stroking them. It was really super and I was starstruck constantly."
Her advice to this year's acts is to just be yourself
The secret to Jules' success is to "just be yourself". Giving her advice to this year's acts, Jules stated: "I never concentrated on trying to win the show that’s not what I was there for and I took it really step-by-step. I think it has a lot to do with how you come across to viewers, and they want to see how you really are. Just be yourself and I think that’s what won me a lot of votes as I was just Jules and I was just there loving my dogs and doing what I enjoy. I certainly wasn't trying to be more than I was capable of or trying to push myself. I was just me and I think that's what came across on camera. That would be my advice, don’t force it and just be yourself. That's what people like as they feel like they know the real person."
She could have Simon's dogs dancing
With Simon admitting that he's having a tough time training Squiddly and Diddly, Jules is pretty confident she could have them up to Matisse's standard in no time! When asked if she'd be up for giving the music mogul a hand in training his pet pooches, she said: "Absolutely! My parents bred Yorkshire Terriers for many years so I’m a bit of a Yorkie expert but I've kept that quiet! I would always be welcoming and give Simon advice, no problem. Every dog is trainable, it’s amazing what you can achieve in a very short amount of time with a bit of understanding and a bit of skill, dog wise. (Simon) said it would take him a year to get his dog to shake a paw but if you have the right knowledge and skills you can achieve four to five new tricks in a week. I could have his dog dancing with him but he’d have to be up for it of course." Come on Simon, give Jules a call!
Who is set to follow in Jules and Matisse's footsteps by winning this year's BGT? The search begins tonight when Britain's Got Talent returns to ITV at 7pm!