Months of filming following Youtube trawls and auditions up and down the country finally came down to this.
The USP of BGT is that it is a place for the myriad of unusual acts to perform. A place where a shadow puppet show will be set between a magician and a dog act. However by the time the judges whittle down all this diversity and the great British public vote – 5 times per app – the final acts have homogenized into a sameness.
Ant and Dec do their cheeky-chappie intros, lights meld into Union Jacks and the judges emerge for the “final coundown”.
Amanda, at 44, continues to compete with Alesha with yet another barely there gown and David Walliams milks the “favourite judge” title for all its worth but we all know it’s Simon’s show and that little is unplanned. It’s all designed to part you from your cash in the aftermath where various acts will perform up and down the country where for the cost of a ticket or an album you can catch a bit of talent for yourself.
Entity Allstars kicked things off. Another dance troupe. This one dresssed as gladiators but not unique in any way. Tumbling, spinning, miming – energetic but too familiar.
Next up, after the obligatory ad break which generates the real money for ITV and Syco, were UDI a foreign troupe who want to use the cash prize of 250,000 to build a talent school in their home country. They use luminous costumes, black-out stage and music to create a story of battles and butterflies. It was a similar performance to one they did in an earlier show. Apparently it was “better and better and better” and “visually spectacular” but after seeing them three times the trickery is no longer mysterious and so voting for them in my opinion seemed unlikely.
We are by now 20 minutes in and on to another ad break. At this rate the pace will not sustain an audience watching to the end. It’s a difficult balance to maintain – profit versus entertainment but an advert after every act is definitely not going to work.
The Neales are pitchy and the back story of father and sons singing to fulfill the dad’s wish after an illness isn’t enough to seriously consider them as worthy of such a big prize. “Good but not as good as before” was quite rightly Simon’s assessment.
Boyband are another dance troupe who at least have fire and dry ice on stage to make it a bit more exciting. Shirts being ripped off seemed to set Amanda and David all-aflutter but again Simon pointed out the predictability of the performance. They were a wild card act but too similar to all other dance acts even with the whole combining of elements shtick going on in the commentary.
After another ad break we were given another wild card act. 9 year old Jesse Jane McParland who as a martial arts act has an annoying habit of shouting while she pins and attacks grown men. She runs with swords over men’s backs but she has been on TV a lot – not over here – but her family are clearly “supporting” her to be famous by hook or by stab. Personally I am not over-enamoured with performing children because I don’t think they are emotionally strong enough to cope with the inevitable rejection when it comes. Precociousness has a short shelf life and so far the great British public has told her that tears get her what she wants. I wish people like Bonnie Langford did – “don’t put your daughters on the stage” lectures.
Danny Posthill came on next and with a minimalist set and just his accurate impersonations and original scripts. Thank goodness for something that seemed fresh and the delivery was tighter.
Calum Scott came next. Simon’s golden buzzer act is the singer who got through immediately after his sister was knocked back in the early stages. Overcome with emotion at the start of this performance he had to clear his throat as he had lost his timing and words but came back much stronger afterwards. Would that little falter help or hinder?
A Welsh choir Cor Glanaethwy came on after the next ad break. Swelling voices singing Alleluia beautifully, clean cut unmade-up children wearing monochrome and harmonising with older voices as if their lives depended on it. Beautiful. My idea of a winning act.
Old Men Grooving came on and did exactly what their name suggests. Their act harks back to the American tradition of men keeping up their street dancing credentials into old age. Here men dancing without being forced into it is less common so there was an element of originality due to their age. I think they will have a career on the end of the pier type shows. Not winners in my book however.
Jamie Raven is a magician who has real skill in both the table top card act and also in the bigger spectacular. “Shut the front door” as Alesha said when she pulled a signed note out of a freshly cut lemon. Vegas awaits.
Issac Waddington sang from behind a piano and gave a fragile pared down performance which is normally associated with more seasoned singers. He claimed he had been “bricking it” but there was no sign of that to the viewers.
The last act – thank goodness – was Jules O’Dwyer and Matisse. A comedy silent act based on the sneaky dog sausage thief and the put-upon police officer. I think they will have a career in children’s movies.
My top four are:
1 Jamie Raven
2 Cor Glanaethwy
3 Danny Posthill
4 Issac Waddington
The actual winners were:
1 Jules O’Dwyer and Matisse
2 Jamie Raven
3 Cor Glanaethwy
4 Old Men Grooving
The public do like their dog acts.