Week three, and as the BGT coaches take a trip past a series of predictable landmarks, we can vaguely safely guess that tonight, they’re in London.
Hasslehoff is having the week off to make a personal appearance at a provincial nightspot, so Louis Walsh (who was desperate and available at the last minute) shows up – giving the judging panel a real B Team feel.
A seven year old girl, Olivia, is first on stage to meet the approval of strangers. Healthy stuff for any child. She recites a harrowing poem about man’s destruction of animals, with a snake around her neck. Misery and sliminess: It’s like Piers Morgan never left. It’s that awful “awwww” factor that the X, er, Factor thankfully lacks, and she makes it through purely on the strength of being small and cuddleable. But only cuddled by the right people.
Synchronised dancing martial artists follow. Synchronised, that is, apart from the large bloke, who can’t get his leg anywhere near waist height. They also make it through, continuing to prove the theory that “talented” and “entertaining” are nowhere near the same.
A wackjob former Come Dine With Me contestant takes his pants off. Leia and Vader impersonators dance a bit. A man clicks his fingers. A troupe of Edward Scissorhandses dance. We don’t get to see any of the acts properly, so – stripping man, aside – it’s difficult to tell what is actually terrible. Presumably all the REALLY boring ones are edited out in one way or another, so these are supposed to be at least interesting or – ugh – wacky.
Amanda bollocks a man in his 60s for not singing a song she’d heard of. Michael makes fun of his name. They put him through anyway, because he seems quite nice. Being friendly has replaced having a sob story as the irritating don’t-worry-about-the-talent-put-’em-through of the year. A terrible dancer, trying out moves that she was last capable of in the 1980s, proves the point.
Some toffs from Oxford, George Osborne’s wet dreams in suits, sing a terrifying montage while prancing, and make their way easily through to the next round. They make themselves easily the most inherently irritating little sods at whatever they’re calling Boot Camp now.
Final act is a 12 year old boy called Ronan, in a horrible trendy outfit: Skinny jeans, a necklace, scarf, and a hairstyle. You know. A Hairstyle. Like what Charlie Brooker has now. He’s cutesy enough for the judges, who put him through. Hopefully he’ll hit puberty before the Royal Variety, and the Queen will have to put up with a disinterested spotty youth on stage for ten minutes.
None of the acts were particularly interesting once again, and every banal observation from McIntyre and yawnsome sob from Holden make us long for the return of the X Factor. Because BGT really is the poor cousin with generic, repetitive acts that struggle to sustain our interest, nutters that deserve sympathy, and more montages than the 1980s.