The two biggest successes from Britain’s Got Talent came in the same year, 2009. A large dance troupe, Diversity, and a middle-aged singer, Susan Boyle. Both came back to perform in the 2012 final – both much slicker and produced than when they were contestants. But can any of this year’s finalists emulate their success? I think yes, but perhaps not the winner…
So I don’t think any of the finalists were younger than about 23 at the most, apart from the conductor of the all boys choir. And only 4 out of the final 11 acts were not singers. I came into the final quite cold – I’d seen bits and pieces of the semi-finals during this week leading up to it, and heard a few things at the “water-cooler” about some of the acts, but generally most were new to me. But let’s go through them in order of appearance to give a sense of the “talent” Britain has to offer this year.
1. The Mend
The “wild-card” entry. A generic boy band from Manchester. They sang David Guetta’s “Without You”. One of them rapped a little bit. They had no chance of winning. And with a final heavily overladen with singers, I’m surprised that another singing group were given the “wild-card” entry, but perhaps they appeased the teenage girl fans.
2. Sam Kelly
A young pretty boy singer with a guitar. He explained that when he sang in pubs, he was just background music and no-one looked at him, but now people would actually see him. Unfortunately he chose a rather slow Rascal Flatts song, which was like background music, and didn’t stand out. Of course, anyone in the first half of the show doesn’t have a chance of winning anyway.
3. Nu Sxool
The name of this young dance troupe really bothered me. Not the ‘Nu’, but the ‘Sxool’. It was pronounced ‘School’ or ‘Skool’, and I just didn’t get understand the ‘x’ in it. Anyway a slick routine with the kids dressed in school uniforms and dancing round old-school wooden desks in a medley that included Pink Floyd’s ‘Another Brick in the Wall’.
4. Molly Rainford
An 11-year old singer. I didn’t recognise the song but it had the words ‘Ave Maria’ in it, but wasn’t the traditional ‘Ave Maria’. Good on the high notes, but she started out very shaky.
5. Loveable Rogues
A three-man band from London performing self-penned ditties. The one of the left plays a ukelele, the one on the left plays a guitar, the one in the middle sings, although they all sing. A style similar to Jamie T. But very poppy and catchy. Very well performed. As Simon Cowell said, they looked like they were the established band who come on during the results to promote their single rather than contestants on the show. I can see them having a successful career after this.
6. Kai and Natalia
A young dance partnership, doing a mixture of ballroom and latin dancing. Good, but nothing that hasn’t been seen on ‘Strictly’. And as on ‘Strictly’ there was the requisite injury, with Natalia having hurt her leg just before the show. Perhaps because of this they mucked up one of their lifts. Still it gave a chance for Alesha Dixon to talk about her love of the ballroom dancing.
Four young synchronised swimmers who, if I’ve got this right, had all trained with the GB synchronised swimming team and one of them narrowly missed out on being in the Olympics. With that training of course they’re going to be good. And they were, and I know it must be difficult, but it looked sometimes like one of them was out of step with the others. Anyway, at least it was a bit of variety, and allowed some outside broadcasting and they could mention David Walliam’s swimming background.
8. Ryan O’Shaugnessy
An Irish singer-songwriter who appeared on the Irish ‘Voice’ as well. Apparently they had made it seem like he had to drop out of The Irish Voice to appear on BGT, but in fact had been voted out in their first week so it didn’t matter. His song was one he had performed in his audition which was about a friend of his that he was in love with, but she didn’t know. And again, apparently, she had worked out who she was after the auditions were aired but wasn’t interested. Anyway, Ryan had a very good voice. I didn’t particularly like the song, but then I hadn’t heard it the first time when he gave the explanation so might have liked it more then. He was on the verge of tears afterwards, perhaps going for the sympathy vote?
9. Only Boys Aloud
A Welsh all-boys choir who sang a Welsh song. There seemed to be about 100 of them on stage and I felt sorry for the ones at the back who wouldn’t be seen on telly. The name may sound familiar because of ‘Only Men Aloud’, an all-male Welsh choir of whom they are a junior version I guess. The adult choir won some BBC choir competition and have a recording contract. Amanda Holden got very emotional at the end of their performance saying that Seb Coe should use them for the opening ceremony. She should be talking to Danny Boyle about that instead, but I think they may have already planned the opening ceremony. Thanks anyway, Amanda.
10. Ashleigh and Pudsey
The dog act. There’s always one every year. Simon Cowell has been determined since the beginning to get one to win. It’s worth noting that this act probably had the most press coverage – or at least it seemed so from the VT. Definitely better than previous dog acts. A sweet home video was shown when Ashleigh was given Pudsey as a present in a box(!) when she was much younger. He stands on his hind legs! A routine set to the “Mission Impossible” theme song, with obstacles, dancing, and tricks. It was an act that just makes you smile.
11. Jonathan and Charlotte
Ok, so there’s a bit of a story to this act too. He’s a shy, overweight opera singer, and she’s his friend. She’s 16 and he’s 17. They sing together. Apparently in the auditions Simon Cowell told Jonathan that he should go through, but without Charlotte. But Jonathan refused to go through without her, and they still went through? I caught their semi-final performance and I thought they were brilliant. They weren’t as impressive in the final, but still very good.
The Top Three?
Well, running order certainly helped, but the producers also put the more popular acts towards the end as they need to end on a high. The Top Three were the final three acts. In third place were ‘Only Boys Aloud’. In second place ‘Jonathan and Charlotte’. And the winners were ‘Ashleigh and Pudsey’.
A prize of £500,000 and a spot on the Royal Variety Performance in front of the Queen. Oooh. They deserved it, but apart from on variety acts what else can they do? Maybe Pudsey can go into tv and films? Following Uggie from The Artist. I’m sure Simon Cowell has a masterplan – he’s been planning for this for years.