As Britain’s Got Talent returns to our TV screens for another series, we, the great British public, can once again look forward to a varied – and often quite unusual and madcap – array of people from all walks of life, and of all ages, striving for instant fame and fortune and, of course, the ultimate prize: appearing live onstage at the Royal Variety Performance before Her Majesty The Queen.
Simon Cowell, who is of course the head judge of the show, is back again, along with fellow judges Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon. And this year, we have the added feature of the Golden Buzzer, which basically means that if this is pressed, that act automatically goes through to the next round.
I watch Britain’s Got Talent every year, and there are some things that I love about the show, and there are some things that I hate. Firstly, the things I love about it.
The main thing I like about it is that it has brought back variety to our TV programme line-up, which, let’s be honest, has been far too overloaded with boring reality shows (if it’s not home improvements, it’s bloody cookery shows) for far too long now. Being a great fan of old TV talent shows like Opportunity Knocks and New Faces – shows that really made television worth watching – I have often bemoaned the appalling lack of such variety shows on the box. Variety is “dead”, people have frequently said, and of course I would tend to agree with that sentiment. Now I know that Simon Cowell is perhaps not the most liked man on TV, being notorious for his straight-talking, sometimes controversial remarks to poorly performing acts (“What the bloody hell was THAT?” and so on). However, whatever your views are on Cowell as a person, you’ve got to give the guy some credit for bringing back variety to our Saturday night TV screens and, in so doing, making it worthwhile staying in again.
The other thing I like about the show is the wide range of acts – from the sensible to the eccentric – that parade in front of the judges. It’s all here, and more besides: singing DJs with dodgy teeth, old ladies effortlessly performing acrobatic stunts guaranteed to make your jaw drop, zany Elvis look-alikes, extraordinarily intelligent dogs and singing ventriloquists. We even have had a Simon Cowell impersonator (ooo, the cheek!).
I also love Ant and Dec as hosts. They are funny, down to earth, likeable, and provide that extra ingredient of watchability to the show. I also like the way they encourage, and joke with, the contestants before they go on stage to face the judges.
Now for the things I don’t like about the show. Not many, I grant you, but still enough to get the angry steam coming out of my ears (now THERE’S something I’ve never seen on BGT before, come to think of it: an act that can emit steam from their lug holes).
Just like The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent sometimes suffers from the odd sob story or two. They are also known as “emotional back stories”. There is nothing that irritates me more than watching somebody who, on first impressions, seems to be quite a strong, levelheaded person – only to then break down into a pathetic, blubbering wreck just because they got a “No” from the judges. We see enough of this on X Factor. We DON’T want to see it on Britain’s Got Talent too. So stop the sob stories, please.
Another thing that really annoys me is when a rubbishy act gets through to the final. Even worse, I hate it when they go on to actually win the darned thing. Without pointing the finger of disapproval at any act in particular, let’s just say that there have been one or two acts over the years which have left me staring at the screen with jaw-dropped disbelief, wondering what on earth were the voting public thinking when they chose THAT act as the winner. Having said that, though, the show has generally produced some pretty worthy winners over the years.
Aside from these few faults, on the whole I really do enjoy Britain’s Got Talent, and will probably go on watching it for as long as it continues. You can’t beat a bit of variety on a Saturday night. Now if you’ll excuse me while I reach for my golden buzzer . . .