Monday, 19 April 2010


« All eyes on me, in the center of the ring just like a circus » (Britney Spears)

[14.03 - French Time] Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent returned last saturday night on ITV1. The talent show, now in its fourth series, came back with his trio of judges: Amanda Holden, Piers Morgan and Cowell himself.

Presenters Anthony "Ant" McPartlin and Declan "Dec" Donnelly were of course aboard for what many British media describe as the quest for the next Susan Boyle, the Scottish singer revealed by series three. Boyle gave the programme an unprecedented global coverage which prompted producers of the French version of the Got Talent franchise to revamp their show.

What makes BGT "The Greatest show in the Galaxy" is that it has it all: variety, music, dance, eccentricity, talent, humour, drama, action, pathetic, bad taste, spectacular, suspense, etc... And all sorts of animals, real or not. It's the ultimate Entertainment show, it even survived a sharp parody from comic genius Peter Kay: Britain’s Got The Pop Factor and Possibly A New Celebrity Jesus Christ Superstar Strictly On Ice.

Britain's Got Talent Series Four Episode One almost looked like a rerun of a global edition of Got Talent. The London auditions started with Simon Cowell taking a crash course about the difference between a timbrel and a tambourine but concluding: « This is a tambourine with Christmas decorations attached ».

This was not his roughest moment. « I can't do this anymore. I'm fifty years old! » said Cowell after a lady named Persephone Lewin played trumpet with her penguin puppet. Maybe the "balloon" act and the parrot before her didn't help. More interesting was Kevin Cruise with his Broadway meets The Love Boat act that didn't charm Simon (« We'll call the ship Titanic ») but seduced Amanda and Piers.

Dance group Diversity won BGT 2009 so expect more dance numbers this year (it was an heavy trend in France recently). Street dancer Tobias Mead got another opportunity to shine after an appearance in another talent show in 2008. But the real event of these auditions was Louis Walsh, of The X Factor, replacing Simon Cowell - on sick leave.

Walsh justified his salary by enduring a jungle animal impersonator, a stripper, a stand-up comic, a bagpipe player or a poet. But he had his X Factor moment with the wonderful Chloe Hickinbottom, 10-year old, singing Vera Lynn's White Cliffs of Dover. And perhaps the 75-year old Irish gardener dancing dressed as a leprechaun was not a coincidence.

But Simon Cowell came back (« Hello I'm Simon Cowell, I'm from London... ») and things returned to "normality". Talking about returns, young drummer Kieran Gaffney (aged 13) came back with mum and dad as a band, after a solo stint in 2009. Only Kieran got a second chance, and subsequently a third as he won his three yesses.

Except annoying montages sometimes zapping a performance which could interest viewers, and the usual cliché soundtrack, it was a rather good BGT episode for a series starting slowly. Like the judges and no wonder why Simon Cowell went ill as he was the only one of the trio to provide the best lines.

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