Essex - She only learnt to walk five months ago, but ‘Baby Beyoncé’ is already strutting her stuff on stage to ‘Single Ladies’ at pageants. Wearing a black leotard and curled hairpiece, beauty queen Bobbi Boyden shakes her hips and blows kisses to the audience as part of her routine.

But some have questioned whether the 19-month-old from Colchester, Essex, should be allowed to enter into a beauty pageant at all.

Her mother Stephanie Boyden, 32, says Bobbi is a ‘diva’ who runs to the stage when her name is called - and screams when she has to leave.

She said: ‘Bobbi’s like a little Beyonce, a little madam really.

‘She loves the attention of being up on stage and she screams to get up there. She’s definitely a diva. I have to hold her back. ‘We were looking for some music for the talent round of the competition and my friend suggested ‘Single Ladies’ because, like Beyonce, Bobbi loves to dance.

‘We put the music on and Bobbi started wiggling straight away. She watched the Beyoncé music video and just started to copy the moves.

‘Every time she heard the song she would start dancing, so it seemed an obvious choice for her.

‘She shakes her bum and she just thoroughly enjoys it, and that’s the best part for me - just seeing her happy.’

Bobbi entered her first pageant in June, alongside sisters Eleanor, 10, and Demi, eight, and she has already won a string of prizes.

But her success doesn’t come cheap and her mother has already spent £5,000 on elaborate dresses and entry fees.

‘In total I’ve spent about £5,000 in three months on my three girls. One dress cost me $200 and she only wore it twice before she grew out if it - but I don’t intend to lower my spending.

‘You can’t put a price on the look on her face when she’s on stage in her costumes.

‘She does wear wigs and crowns and fancy dresses but I don’t give her spray tans or cake her in makeup - I’ll wait until she’s about five for that.

‘For now she wears a dab of lipstick and nail varnish.’

The family have faced criticism for Bobbi’s outfit and routine, but her mother is adamant she is doing the best for her daughter.

She said: ‘I know some people think it’s inappropriate but all of the judges are checked out and given police checks and I wouldn’t put her in any danger.

‘The crowd are parents and family members - you can’t just wander in off the street.

‘There are people who say that pageants sexualise children but I couldn’t disagree more.

‘It’s exactly the same as a dance competition except the kids win crowns instead of medals at the end.

‘I would never put any of my children in danger.’

Bobbi’s dad Anton, 28, admits that he had his concerns at first, but is now comfortable with Bobbi’s routine.

Anton, who works in the military, said: ‘I thought the Beyonce routine was inappropriate when Steph first told me about it, but when I saw her on the stage doing it, it worked out quite well and everyone enjoyed it.

‘I wasn’t keen on her wearing wigs at first, as a dad, but it’s all part of the pageants.

‘You do have the odd person that thinks it’s sexualised but that’s wrong. The kids enjoy it and we enjoy watching them and if there was any harm in it then Bobbi wouldn’t be doing it.

‘She enjoys it and we don’t force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do.’

Pageant compere and former beauty queen Sara Collins believes that Bobbi has extraordinary talent and has signed the tot to her talent agency, ‘Sara’s Stars’.

Ms Collins, 45, from Shoreham-By-The-Sea, West Sussex, said: ‘I’ve been in the industry myself for over 25 years and I can honestly say that for a child that age to have that much enthusiasm, encouragement, support from her family, but a natural gift to go out there and perform, it’s very rare, it’s very unusual.

‘This child is going somewhere big, you mark my words.’