After winning “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2012, dog act Ashleigh and Pudsey traveled the world and even starred in a movie, “Pudsey: The Movie.” Unfortunately, as trainer Ashleigh Jade Butler reveals in the second episode of “America’s Got Talent: The Champions,” her lovable Border Collie passed away of cancer in 2017. Following his death a new dynamic duo was formed — Ashleigh and Sully — and they’re now competing on NBC’s “AGT: Champions” spinoff series. Unfortunately, they were eliminated after their first appearance. Watch their performance above from the January 14 episode.
“Pudsey was 11,” Ashleigh details while fighting back tears. “He seemed tired, didn’t want to eat. I think at that point, we knew something really wasn’t right. The vet confirmed to us that he thought it was cancer and they said, ‘There’s nothing we can do.’ He kind of lifted his head a little bit to look up at us, but that’s all that he could do. And then we had to say goodbye.”
Ashleigh continues on, “He touched so many people. He had done so much for me, so much for my family. I’m very grateful.” As for her new canine companion, the former “BGT” winner explains, “Sully looked up to Pudsey. He became a little bit protective over me. As soon as [Pudsey] passed, he was like, ‘Okay, I know what I need to do.'”
Before stepping out on the “AGT: Champions” stage, Ashleigh admitted that she was “worried” because Sully had “never performed in front of an audience this big.” But it turned out she had nothing to worry about. After her exciting act that involved a “GLOW”-type wrestling match, all four judges — Simon Cowell, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel — gave her a rousing standing ovation.
In his “AGT” live blog, our recapper John Benutty had this to say about Ashleigh and Sully’s performance: “Together Ashleigh and Sully did an 80s themed workout and wrestling routine that was high energy and featured non-stop tricks for Sully to do. Howie noticed that Sully looked happy to be performing and it was infectious because Mel was overjoyed watching them perform. Naturally, dog lover Simon also loved the routine, but more than that he was thrilled that Ashleigh came back and agreed with Howie that she has stepped up her game since being crowned a champion in Britain seven years ago.”