Another Spring, another series of Britain’s Got Talent beckons – but that’s exactly how we like it. The feel-good variety juggernaut comes at precisely the right time of year: trees turn green, flowers turn multicoloured and buzzers turn…red. Or gold.
The series opened a little more subdued that usual, with the traditional flashmob replaced by crafty CGI showing Ant and Dec exploring highlights from the show’s 10-year past. It was a fitting way to celebrate reaching a decade (already?), but lacked the ambition or bombast that swarms of dancers, chirpy tunes and panning camera shots delivered for 4 straight years.
The acts certainly weren’t subdued. A common complaint leveraged at the show is overabundance of singers – but there was (thankfully) a grand total of one singer on tonight’s show. Make no mistake – there was variety galore. The pace was kept snappy, as we were whisked from stand-up comedians to bellydancers to…whatever the Togni Brothers did. It didn’t feel rushed, though, and plenty of time was kept for us to savour the soothing harmonies of the Collaborative Orchestra, or the sheer adorableness of the grooving canine Trip Hazard. Does the dog approve of that moniker?
The aforementioned Orchestra helped deliver a trademark surprise moment. Financier Nicholas Bryant posed very convincingly as a solo pianist, before revealing groups of vocalists, violinists and even guitarists hidden in the depths of the crowd. Every year, without fail, BGT manages to deliver shocks where you least expect them – and that’s why we keep watching. The best moment of the night may have been kept until last, where life-risker Alex Magala weaved a sword down his insides before proceeding to intricately balance atop a very tall pole. With the blade still in his windpipe.
Of course there was a golden buzzer moment – reserved for 12 year-old Beau Dermott, whose cover of Wicked’s Defying Gravity earned herself Amanda’s ticket to the live shows. Why wouldn’t it – Mandy is obsessed musical theatre after all. Her debut was refreshingly stripped-back, with the focus kept on her voice as opposed to any emotional tales.
Ant and Dec were on solid form too. Armed with more props than ever, TV’s best hosts donned Royal Guard’s wigs, sported tin-foil masks and even morphed into vegetables during ‘Madame Zucchini”‘s ill-fated comedy routine. Their role in the show’s charm is crucial – they keep the tone friendly even when amusing rubbish occupies the stage. Another fail worth highlighting was aptly-surnamed Tony Baloney, who failed to understand that ventriloquists shouldn’t move their mouths. Oops.
So all in all, a roaring start to Talent’s tenth series, bursting at the seams with variety, and without a single sob story in sight. Now let’s hope there’s this broad a range of acts in the next 6 audition episodes! A few suggestions for week 2, Simon – tone down the acts’ holding room scenes, which smell a little contrived, and refrain from using too many Gogglebox-style audience reactions.
Those small niggles aside, boy is it good to have some BGT back on our screens. The next 8 weeks should be a riot!