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Those stupid TV talent competitions

So Britain’s Got Talent is finally over. At last! Only something happened between when that started and when it finished. At the start I had the same opinion on it as I have of every other talent/reality show - utter rubbish full of misguided, deluded, and dysfunctional people, and TV executives profiteering from other people’s shattered dreams. So I didn’t watch it until I caught one mid way through the competition one evening while at Ben’s house. I’ve just watched the final, and weirdly, I have a feeling of elation. What happened?!

Here’s what I think; whenever I’ve tried watching any program like this it starts off with the ‘thousands of applicants’ stage. At this point pretty much the only people featured are talentless at best, and at worst talentless, deluded, emotionally unstable, and vindictive people that are repulsive as much as they are objects of my pity. What sort of conditions does a person have to go through to believe that all of their future happiness and any chance of salvation from their self-professed horrible life hangs on the opinion of three judges for a TV show? It’s genuinely saddening to see people like that. So, normally I turn it off and never watch again.

But that means I’ve missed the good parts later on, when all of the cruft has been filtered out. Because how can anyone possibly be unmoved to smile by an act like Signature’s? It starts off as a standard ‘guy dancing’ audition which looks very shaky on account of the ‘doing michael jackson dancing since I was a kid’ aspect; but by the end I was bopping around the living room with a grin plastered all over my face. It made me smile, lots (the Indian flavoured track helped).

Signature, dance act

Faryl Smith, singer

And if I thought that was surprising but brilliant, I’d not yet seen Faryl Smith’s audition. One that, I am unashamed to say, brought tears to my eyes. That is what music is about. There’s something about seeing such a young person step forward, nervous, no bravado or boasting, and let loose a performance orders of magnitude beyond what anyone was expecting. It was beautiful. She opened her mouth, and everyone could not help but become enraptured.

I may not agree on who won the competition (Faryl would have got my vote had I been of the inclination to pick up a phone), but George Sampson won. And that’s another different bit of magic. This is a kid who failed once, lives in a rough area, who’s father left, who ‘just wants to be a dancer’, and would not give up. He came back and he made it. That’s great.

George Sampson, dancer

And what is it that I like about these acts? Well, as much as the talent that’s there, it’s the people. They have good personalities. They are likeable. So watching the latter few episodes is actually quite an uplifiting bit of TV. Not at all the same show as the first half of the series.

Also, I’m in no way averse to the odd bit of sheer sexiness. My reaction to Sophie Mei was pretty much the same as Simon Cowel. Not a great dancer, but hot-dang she’s cute.

At the suggestion of Kath in the comments, I checked out the video’s of George Sampson from last year. They are well worth watching:

George Sampson, older auditions

His first audition from 2007

His first audition from 2008


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  1. Kath posted 6 days, 18hrs, 34mins after the entry and said:

    I loved this show and really wanted George Sampson to win, though it could easily have been any one of 5 acts. Have you seen the video of his audition last year? It's worth watching just to see simon's face! Signature were worthy runners up, not because their talent was particularly amazing like Farell's or Andrew's, but because like you say, they make everyone smile.

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