In 2009 The X Factor followed suit, but back in 2007 this was a revolutionary idea. The idea was that the audience, with their cheers and jeers, became the fourth judge. Some acts were put through solely on the reaction from the audience who had presumably been doped up on fizzy drinks and chocolate before each show. The aspect of this live audience gave the show a different feel to any other talent show that was clogging up our channels back then. With Ant & Dec in the wings everything felt perfect.
2008 saw success for street dancer George Sampson who has since gone on to appear in films and TV series Waterloo Road but it was 2009 that Britain’s Got Talent gained interest from around the world. I’m not going to describe in intricate detail the audition that saw Susan Boyle catapulted into mega stardom as it has since become one of those “JFK moments” where everyone remembers where they were when Susan belted out “I dreamed a dream” to an initially disinterested judging panel. Of course Susan came second that year with street dancers Diversity voted most popular by the public. I was one of those people a little left out by “Boylemania”; I wasn’t as moved or as compelled to vote for Boyle but I did appreciate the fact that Britain’s Got Talent was one the one show that would embrace an act like Boyle and lead her to the success she was deserving of.
By 2010 the format of Britain’s Got Talent was over familiar and though I remember being impressed by acrobatic winners Spellbound I also remember the series felt like it was losing its charm and steam. Of course it isn’t the fault of producers really as it’s a rare series that doesn’t lose its steam after four series.
The less said about the 2011 series the better. I enjoyed the inclusion of Michael McIntyre but the series and the judging panel suffered from the lack of Simon Cowell. People are very vocal when Cowell’s name is mentioned but whatever you think of him, he knows how to put a great talent show together. Cowell knows what the public like, what the public expect and what the public get excited by and although he was still working as a producer on the series, his absence at the auditions was felt by auditionees and the audience alike.
I hold my hand up and say I was less excited by the sixth series of Britain’s Got Talent. I felt as if I’d seen it all before and although Cowell was returning to the panel I was sceptical about yet another new judging panel. However, just like Cowell, I’m happy to admit when I’m wrong. I had preconceptions about the series before I’d seen it and that’s the one thing you should never do with a series like this. There was a lot of fuss made (by me too) about Britain’s Got Talent competing with the BBC’s new jewel The Voice. Some even suggested Cowell was concerned by the success of The Voice but in actual fact there’s no question which was the more fun and more entertaining.
The new panel of David Walliams, Alesha Dixon, Simon and Amanda clicked with instant chemistry and as an audience member I reveled in the fun they were having. Its a difficult thing to achieve but the series felt fresh again. This was, of course, an example of how well Simon Cowell knows things will work. The “refreshed” production was less in your face and took itself less seriously and because of that I was at ease and somewhat transported back to 2007 and reminded why I love the show so much in the first place.
Skip forward 7 weeks and we arrive at the final. It is fair to say that the semi-finals were a mixed bag of talent and cringeworthy moments but that is what you’ve come to expect if you’re a long time viewer like myself. What struck me on final night though was the diversity (pardon the accidental pun) and the sheer calibre of each of the acts. Each one of them would have been deserving winners but one act stood out. Of course Jonathan and Charlotte were amazing and the Loveable Rogues were so credible and new but it was dancing dog Pudsey I was most looking forward to.
You would have had to have a heart of stone not to be ooh and ahhring at the relationship between the two as they darted across the judges table. It was so nice to see such a genuine loving relationship between a 16 year old and her pet and everything Pudsey did amazed me and left my whole living-room in fits of laughter, applause and admiration. I don’t want to be too over sentimental but I was overwhelmed at times by the amount of Talent displayed here and genuinely rooting for everyone. It was a night that did make me feel proud to be British and a night that celebrated just how fantastic a medium television is and of course most importantly and without cynicism demonstrated more than ever that Britain DOES HAVE TALENT!