Isn’t Britain great? We like nothing more than watching a puzzling array of 40-watt fucktards and mentally ill grannies making fools of themselves. Yes, Britain’s Got Talent is back and, apparently, this year ‘it’s all change’. The big changes being that Eddie Munster/Michael McIntyre has taken the place of money-shitting judgebot Piers Morgan. Oh, and they’ve also drafted in The Hoff and propped him up in a Union Jack blazer like a desiccated dummy at the London Dungeon. Luckily, so as not to boggle our minds with the sheer overwhelming NEWNESS of it all, Amanda Holden is still there in the middle, hair brutally Elnetted, doing her survivor face. (Saturday night telly is nothing without emotional backstory and bouffants.)
Of course, it would be so much better if the show changed to one that wasn’t so irretrievably shit. But change is not an option in the world of Syco productions. Simon Cowell’s format is fixed and never ending – a parade of ‘ordinary’ people, 3 arseholes, some flashing blue lights and countless stings with ‘Birmingham’, ‘Amanda Holden’, and ’Next Week’ slamming onto the screen every five seconds with a ‘WHOOF’ sound. Even John McCrirrick is less resistant to stylistic change than Cowell, a man who has more money than God yet owns 145,000 identical tight ecru v-necks. Until the day you die, there will be a Syco production on TV on Saturday night and it will be exactly the same as the last series, but with slightly different judges. There is nothing you can do about it. In fact, they will still be on after a nuclear war, and the judges will be mutant cockroaches.
This week, BGT began in Liverpool, which spewed forth large groups of talent-free, salt-of-the-earth dipsticks. From borderline racist Indian rope tricks to a man mournfully honking his way through ‘Yellow Submarine’, there was something for nobody. It was so dire that an early highlight came in the form of 45 year old Mary, a day release weirdo who was wearing a houndstooth flowerpot on her head and thought that Amanda was Joanna Lumley. She produced a harmonica and tunelessly parped on it, shitting on McIntyre’s comedy career from a great height.
In a transformational performance not unlike the time Matt Cardle did ‘Knights in White Satin’, Michael wrote off Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car. But because he was a bit simple and he managed to hold his guitar the right way round, everyone went into raptures.
Mostly, though, it was quantity, not quality. There was a proliferation of freaky post-Michael Jackson dance troupes dressed as weird clowns, and enormous breakdance/cheerleading/Glee style acts which seemed to feature entire villages of damned children. Naturally, the most memorable people were also the most tragic – like John Hampson, who painted himself gold and wore a t-shirt with ‘GOLD’ on it and sang ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet. When McIntyre pressed the buzzer on him, he walked off, like a big sad pound coin rolling into the gutter. ‘He’s a bit precious’, someone said, in a rare moment of actual entertainment.
After ad break number 37 of a 2 hour show, the Syco production sheet was ticked by dozy 19 year old guitarist Michael. He lived in a caravan but was trying to make the best of it: ‘it’s quite posh – you need a key card to get in and that’. He’d also knocked up his teenage girlfriend, but he was looking on the bright side. ‘We’re going to have a baby…it wasn’t planned, obviously. I proposed to her at a Chinese buffet.’ In a transformational performance not unlike the time Matt Cardle did ‘Knights in White Satin’, Michael wrote off Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car. But because he was a bit simple and he managed to hold his guitar the right way round, everyone went into raptures. This, in Britain, constitutes talent.
And of course there were the real freaks, the ones that have Ant and Dec cramming their fists in their mouths and gurgling like babies. At the next round of auditions in Cardiff, aspiring coronary emergency Antonio could pop his eyes out to Mr Boombastic by Shaggy. 53 year old Stephen Hall from Kendal danced stupidly to Eminem like a Lake District Napoleon Dynamite. But nobody held a candle to Gay and Alan. When asked what they did, Alan, who looked like 1972, jazzily announced, ‘We are rrrringing handbellls!’ They proceeded to do a half arsed handbell rendition of My Heart Will Go On. My heart sank like the Titanic, but they were perfect. Perfectly weird. Perfectly talentless. Perfectly British. ‘How are you going to celebrate? Asked Dec/Ant, when they were given a unanimous yes. ‘Go home’ said a fatigued, donged-out Alan, decisively. Yeah, I’m with you Alan- start the car.
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