by MICHAEL MORRISSEY
What do Britain’s Got Talent, American Idol, The Voice Australia, and The X Factor
have in common? No prizes for guessing the answer — the gruelling selection of competing
finalists from a line up of the genuinely talented, the mediocre and the plain awful.
Normally the less-than-gifted — the owner of a trained owl that refused to perform — get
eliminated, often in few seconds by a cruelly trigger-happy Simon Cowell.
During the final of Britain’s Got Talent, Cowell shocked the judges and audience by buzzing
off a trio of presumably gay dancers in high heels. He told them they couldn’t win
and he was proved right — Yanis Marshall, Arnaud and Mehdi were voted last out of the top 11.
Rather than give the top prize to the group Collabro, I would have favoured Lucy Kay for all her all-round classinessand classical singing abilities, and for bringing off the challenging task of singing Nessun Dorma, a famous Puccini aria, normally sung by a male. But then I have a bias towards single performers. And I also tend to prefer solo artists over dance
groups. Alas, the most original dance group, Light Balance, was sadly eliminated before the final. Other overly vigorous dance groups tend to have a certain similarity.
Dear octogenarian Paddy and much younger Nico only scored ninth, but one had to admire her bravery and spirit.
Fifteen-year-old James Smith, with his pure voice, was also a standout, but he was topped by illusionist Darcy Oakes with his Houdini-esque escape from a straitjacket; Jack Pack; and the top three in reverse order — Bars and Melody, Lucy Kay and winner Collabro.
I would have placed the phenomenal Lettice Rowbotham, a Junoesque woman who plays the violin like one possessed, as third, although she was only voted as eighth. And why do we need two presenters?
It is tempting to conjecture that the women judges may have been picked on the basis of their good looks, not to mention their ability to change costume between items. (To be fair, even Simon manages three changes of T-shirt.) But I am happy to report that these “girls” are
more than just pretty faces. Amanda Holden — seen at her very best when widening
her eyes — is a talented actress, writer and presenter; Alesha Dixon is a gifted dancer,
singer, rapper and presenter (and wit: “like a drumming hamster” she said of a revolvingGreek drummer); and David Walliams (not Williams) writes children’s books, is an actor and presenter and has (gasp!) swum the English Channel, Straits of Gibraltar and the River Thames. Possibly
we could see one of these swims in a fish tank on Britain’s Got Talent?
While the women judges play it straight, Cowell continues to shock by not liking people who everybody else likes. This is the reverse of the well known principle of it’s-so-bad-it’s-good reaction which had Walliams cheering for truly dreadful Korean impressionist Jenson Zhu.
Walliams, who does a good line in the beamingly vacuous smile, continues to try to beat Cowell at his own game by liking bad acts and non-funny comedians and even trying to get Simon to push his buzzer when (surprisingly!) he has not already done so. In the final, Walliams could not resist opening with wishing that Simon should have been shoved into the cauldron
that accompanied the frenzied head banger hair-swishing dancing of The Addict Initiative
who, alas, only managed 10th place.
Much as I dislike Walliams — an opinion no doubt shared by Simon Cowell — the conflict between them produces some additional comic drama.
Britain’s Got Talent is big TV box office, and I for one look forward to more of the
same. Hopefully, Simon Cowell will not lose any of his verbal acid and blatant feel-bad
expressions. Meanwhile, he has signed up Collabro, Lucy Kay and Jack Pack for his record company Syco. A happy ending for some, disappointment for others.
This is NZ Catholic’s last Monitor column. — Editor.
by MICHAEL MORRISSEY