Between watching Empire on E4, catching up on Bates Motel on Netflix and laughing at Eurovision, I haven’t been keeping up with Britain’s Got Talent. Though, is it just me or has this series of BGT been rather lacklustre? Every series has the same kind of acts, impressive dancers, talented singers and usually some cool niche performer, along with all the terribly untrained dog acts, squawking duets and those whose only skill is disrobing, but this series may have just reached breaking point. The acts aren’t new, the judges aren’t new, and the same old skits and shticks of both are back. Maybe everyone one else got bored a long time ago, but I’m really just struggling to care this year.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the finalists:
A lot of talented, operatic singers with good arrangement and harmony. Are they better than other choirs that we’ve seen? They’re definitely strong but the only trait that really distinguishes them is the fact that they’re a Welsh choir. That probably won’t be enough to win the competition. And while their song was good and they pulled it off perfectly, they’ll have to take it to another level in the final to have any hope of winning.
So this young dance troupe make it into the final despite 1- failing to represent Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw in their Hogwarts inspired routine and 2- Fake Potter botching a flip and allowing Draco Malfoy to win. Imagine if that had happened in the books, eh? Whilst taking advantage of the widespread appeal of Harry Potter is a good idea, the skirts restricted a lot of the dancing to wild arm movements, with only Harry and Draco really getting to do the somersaults and side flips. On top of that, the routine still looked choreographed. A few more practices might have helped the whole performance flow a bit more naturally. Unfortunately, even with more rehearsing, I don’t see them winning tonight.
Jules O’Dwyer & Matisse
I imagine that it takes a lot of patience and dedication to teach a dog to stand on its front legs, hop around on its back legs and close itself in a box. There’s no doubting that it’s a talent, and clearly so if she can replicate the same tricks with a second dog. That means what we’re seeing is a skill of the owner, not just a clever dog (though the dogs themselves are intelligent). This kind of act does lack wow factor though. But one could have said the same for Pudsey and it worked for them, so maybe Jules and Matisse have a chance.
Old Men Grooving
This is just a fun act. It’s not a joke act, because the guys are obviously talented dancers but they’d never be called amazing, as some dancers in the competition are. But you can forgive their lack of synchronization and timing because they’re enjoying themselves. And seeing that passion and joy engages with the audience, like how they say a smile is infectious. This is a talent competition though, so while I think it’s great they’re having fun out there, they don’t have the dedication and skill to win.
Of all the finalists, Jamie Raven is my favourite. There have been many magicians on Britain’s Got Talent over the years but Raven’s act is simple, yet impressive. By this point we’ve seen all the common tricks , and no matter how well they’re done, we know the outcome. Raven’s tricks are new but rather than go bigger (although spectacle is a large part of the performance), Raven has gone more intimate. Getting closer to the ‘victims’ adds to the illusion so that it appears all the more impressive. The question is, can he top a helicopter?
I like UDI. They remind me of a more high tech version of Attraction from series 7. Their semi-final performance was very similar to their audition though, and I’m still not sure what the story is meant to mean or represent. With Attraction the message was pretty clear and moving, but UDI’s story is a lot less straightforward. On a more practical level as well, there were a number of occasions where feet were visible. A tighter performance and better storytelling is needed if UDI want to win that coveted first place spot.
There aren’t actually many singers in the final this year. There’s a choir and a singing group, but Issac Waddington is a standalone singer. What separates him from the herd, and probably cemented his place in the final, is that he can also play the piano. He’s a talented singer and pianist but I wasn’t struck by his performance. Maybe he just needs a stronger song. He’s just one of those acts who is good but not good enough to win.
It’s disappointing that The Neales made it to the final over Boyband. One could make an argument against the abundance of dance troupes in the series already, but Boyband stood out and were pretty self-aware. On the flip side, The Neales are old fashioned and haven’t done anything we haven’t see before. They sing well but it takes more than that to win the competition and the only selling point of The Neales is that they’re a family. I don’t think that’s going to cut it.
The second of the solo singers in the final. Of the two, I prefer Callum. He sung an old fashioned song but with a modern style. Unlike Issac, the other solo singer, this was a much more striking and memorable performance. As it so often is with singers though, his chances in the finale will come down to song choice. A great song with a clever arrangement would raise him into the top spot but a misstep could cut his chances off completely.
Impressionists tend to be rather hit or miss on Britain’s Got Talent. Even when they get through auditions and semi-finals, sooner or later they tend to overreach and try a voice that just doesn’t work. Posthill is extremely competent at impersonating celebrities and has a good vocal range so he’s not just limited to one group. But the performance wasn’t hilarious. There were some funny moments and a strange piece where he mentioned Amanda Holden wasn’t wearing a bra. It was enough to get him to the final but that’s likely as far as he goes.
Regarding the wild card slots, my picks would be Boyband and Jesse-Jane McParland. Boyband because, as mentioned above, I feel that they deserve spot in the final. Jesse because her talent is rather unique for this competition and she’s quite good at it. Not that I see either one winning. The only act I’m really pulling for is Jamie Raven. I can only describe my feelings towards the other acts as ‘mild interest’. Which further shows how unengaging this show has become. Maybe I’m just bitter because my favourite never wins. I tipped Lucy Kay to win last year and thought Collabro had no chance and look how that turned out. Following that trend, The Neales are most likely to take home the gold. Oh, joy.