THE BLOG

All the World's a Stage But Should Children and Animals Be on It?

13/04/2016 15:25

Of all the things Britain's got (a level of obesity that's rapidly turning into a crisis - by 2025 it's estimated that 38% of men and women will be affected by the condition, the largest prison population in Western Europe with 149.7 out of 100,000 people banged up in England and Wales, not to mention a cocaine problem that according to last year's annual European Drugs report meant we had the highest level of use out of 26 countries), it's also got talent.

Or so we're led to believe by the man with his finger on the pulse of popular entertainment. Not sure what St John Ambulance first aid course Cowell went on, however he may want to go back and recheck that pulse because it's getting weaker and weaker. In fact, if the season opener was anything to go by, it's hardly detectable.

Back on our screens for its tenth series and the producers are obviously abiding by the old adage: 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it'. And even if it is broke, don't fret, Simon will already have got his dentist to sort it out.

Hardly anything has changed from last year and the year before that and the year before that going all the way back to the time of Paul Potts whose teeth you may recall somehow slipped under the repair radar by the time of his first televised audition.

Plainly not wishing to face to an X Factor type fiasco, all the same judges are again in attendance. Along with Alesha Dixon (perhaps the only woman on the planet who can make Cheryl look like a seasoned professional), we have David Walliams, the renowned Kenneth Williams tribute act, although without the sophisticated wit and genius of the original.

Apologies for going off on a slight tangent, but you'd never have caught dear old Ken doing a self-congratulatory swim for charity. The most you could have expected on the comic relief front from him would have been a furtive tug under the covers.

Returning to the panel (oh alright, if I must), there's the ageing impresario himself whose neckline plunges further downwards the older he gets. Give him another five years and it will have plunged all the way down to his genitals. As well as his chest, I have the uneasily feeling that he won't be shaving these either.

Finally, there's the woman who has been by his side, gently massaging his ego (well, one presumes it's his ego) from the very beginning. Ah, yes, Amanda Holden. Or as I prefer to call her, Amanda Beholden since she should be eternally thankful and indebted to whoever was responsible for giving her a career in the first place.

In addition to the so called experts, the other familiar faces are, big surprise, Ant and Dec. They continue to be the unfunniest double act working in television today, yet strangely that doesn't seem to dent their popularity in the slightest. In a sense they're the comedy equivalent of Donald Trump. Both can say whatever they want - in his case outrageous, in their case humourless - and their fans will love them even more for it.

Ultimately though this is a show that doesn't succeed or fail on the calibre of the judges or the hosts, it's all about those taking part.

Therein lies the problem. In a decade, it has only really found one true star and ever since then it has been desperately searching for another Boyle. Personally, I'm holding out for an actual boil; a gigantic singing one, preferably on someone's backside, which belts out: 'Don't pop me now (cause I'm having a good time). Don't pop me now (yes, I'm having a good time). I don't wanna pop at all".

Unfortunately, a far bigger issue is those they allow to take part, but unquestionably shouldn't. Forget the adults. Let them make a fool of themselves if they wish. If they're disillusioned and deluded enough to believe that they can be be the next big thing in magic, music, hip hop or vegetable impressionism, then far be it from me or anyone else to prevent them from getting up there to become the subject of national ridicule. After all, the worse they are, the better we like them.

It's the kids we need to be concerned with. You can't help get the sinking feeling that they're going to end up being robbed. Not of the eventual title, the prize money and the chance to perform in front of a snoozing member of the Royal Family, but of a childhood.

Are they genuinely so desperate to be famous (at the age of many of these little troopers, I'm sure all I was desperate for was another peanut butter sandwich - come to think of it, I still am) or is it their parents who will stop at nothing to ensure their offspring make it in show business? It's hard to tell, although not I suspect where Beau Dermott is concerned. Already engulfed in a scandal amidst accusations that she has previously entered this particular contest and won a myriad of others, you can imagine her road to stardom was already being planned the moment she popped out of the womb and cried, probably perfectly in tune to Streisand's 'Don't Rain on My Parade', and the doctor said: "Boy, she's got a good set of pipes on her".

"Who are you here with?" asked Cowell when the seemingly inexperienced 12 year old stepped up to the microphone.

She replied her mum, dad and brother. She conveniently forget to mention her agent, personal stylist, manager, lawyer, vocal coach, hairdresser and macrobiotic chef who were undoubtably all standing in the wings cheering her on.

Anyway, they can collectively breathe a sigh of relief as thanks to Amanda pressing her golden buzzer, Beau is on her way to the final.

It's pretty much a given that poor mutt, Trip Advisor (sorry, Trip Hazard - an equally ridiculous name for a pooch) will be following suit. Really? Come on, this is only one step up - or down - from dancing bears. And not the sort of camp, hairy ones Walliams would be pressing his golden buzzer for.

Let's get one thing clear here, shall we? Dogs deserve to be in parks chasing squirrels and sticks, not on stage chasing a binding contract that ties them into three years of panto and personal appearances opening flaming supermarkets.

Britain's Got Talent continues on ITV this Saturday. Children and animals may wish to heed the following advice: Never work with Simon Cowell.

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