A Rousing (Sort Of) Defence Of Britain's Got Talent

After years of avoiding BGT like the plague, I thought time was ripe for me to have a gander to see what all the fuss is about...
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After years of avoiding BGT like the plague, I thought time was ripe for me to have a gander to see what all the fuss is about...

The cultural phenomenon that is Britain’s Got Talentis back amongst us, sucking out our brains like some sort of televisual zombie, feasting on our inertia and wallowing in our apathy and, as is the way with Simon Cowell  ‘formats’ it never makes the mistake of under estimating the great British public’s insatiable appetite for mind numbing shite.

My dislike for ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ and all it stands for is based purely and simply on my pervious, soul shrivelling experiences of all things Cowellian. Robson And Jerome, Zig And Zag, Sinitta, need I go on? His crimes against popular culture are numerous, heinous and unrelenting. However, even I almost fell for the hype! Having avoided “ BGT” for a number of years my view and possibly my brain had started to soften, maybe I’d been a little harsh - after all, it’s just ‘a bit of fun ‘?  Maybe it’s improved immeasurably since I was harrowed to the very core of my being by the likes of Susan Boyle and the ‘side splitting’ antics of Stavros Flatley. And so I decided in order to have a valid contemporary opinion I should at least give the show another viewing. To this end I have just spent the last hour on YouTube and ITV.com observing people who have at the very least, an inflated sense of their own ability and at worst are seriously mentally ill, but enough about the judges.

Of the contestants you can’t help but feel if only their parents had said ‘ No little Jenny, you do NOT have the voice of Maria Callas, but nursing might be something you’d like to consider as a career option. ‘  The so called judges perform their scripted roles with the deftness of a charging elephant and effect spontaneity with all the confidence of Jean Claude Van Damme playing Hamlet. But of course that’s not the issue here; this is after all, as people keep telling me ‘just a bit of fun’. Watching the ‘highlights’ online has been possibly the most sprit-crushing hour I’ve spent in recent months and has genuinely left me feeling dirty, depressed and lobotomised by the sheer stupidity of this lamentable charade. The on screen ring masters, two gunning millionaire Geordie gnomes giggle, guffaw and simulate conspiratorial ironic exasperation in order to connect with the TV audience at home, a skill which has rather bafflingly seen them regaled as national treasures.

Watching the ‘highlights’ online has been possibly the most sprit-crushing hour I’ve spent in recent months and has genuinely left me feeling dirty, depressed and lobotomised by the sheer stupidity of this lamentable charade

And ‘connect’ is the crucial world here, because for all its faults, its unremitting shitness and it’s spirit-crushing crassness, ‘Britain’s Got Talent ‘does one thing extremely well. It understands its audience and fills the emptiness in their life. Simply put it fills a void with a void. Cowell may not understand what makes a great song, he may not understand the avant-garde, he may be terrified of an artist who wants to push boundaries and challenge the status quo, but he understands implicitly how to make money from defending the status quo. Cowell’s skill is turd polishing and presentation, essentially he appropriates various elements from redundant TV formats, the variety show, the talent show, the pantomime and like Dr. Victor Frankenstein re-assembles these parts to create amonster.

Rather like Cheryl Cole, initially it all looks sexy and exciting but the reality is it is, vapid, empty utterly sexless and devoid of anything resembling talent. It was once said that people knew exactly what they were doing when news of JFK’s assassination broke.  Cowell's contribution to popular culture is to create a generation of couch potatoes who talk with misty-eyed reverence about the first time they saw and heard their hairy angel spirit guide, Susan Boyle. And that’s what ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ gives us, something that we all crave as social animals, the collective experience, it’s just a shame it’s such a fucking shit one, the televisual equivalent of holding your lighter aloft at a Chris De Burgh concert whilst shitting into an empty fish and chip tray.

People have called me a snob, of being a killjoy, of trying to spoil their fun, but the reality is that surely there is nothing more elitist and snobby than sitting on your expensive couch with your nice middle class friends whilst sneering and sniggering at people’s dreams being dismantled for entertainment from a perceived position of superiority?  It’s Jerry Springer/Jeremy Kyle style bear baiting with a karaoke machine and synchronised dancing.

In essence I was right to despise the crass manipulative nastiness of Britain’s Got Talent, but now after revisiting it, I not only loathe the show, I also pity the eleven million plus who regularly lap up this drivel. ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ is a void inside a vacuum, a hateful hatful of hollow and Oscar Wilde’s epigram ‘Public opinion exists only where there are no ideas’ could well be the shows tagline.  A show made by manipulative cunts to be enjoyed by lazy complicit acquiescent cunts.  When popular culture finally draws it’s last breath and all we have left are ‘Syco’, power ballads and REO Speedwagon tribute bands what will your excuse be? .” I couldn’t be arsed??”

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