‘Britain’s Got Talent’ 2013 – Week 1 Review

After weeks of incessant trailers and non-stop plugging from other ITV shows, Britain’s Got Talent returned for its seventh year on Saturday and, as predicted, trounced The Voice UK by earning almost double the peak audience ratings of the BBC series.

Of course, with the return of Britain’s Got Talent came, thankfully, the same judging panel (comprising of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams) and presenting team (Ant & Dec and More Talent’s much over-looked Stephen Mulhern) – all of whom treated us to the usual array of this country’s weird and wonderful (with emphasis on the former) inhabitants.

Now, it wouldn’t be Britain’s Got Talent without the oddballs but, with those becoming increasingly difficult to watch as each year passes (like an exposed animal being poked and prodded by fascinated members of the public at a zoo), it was the genuine talent which shone through in this episode – and thank God there was quite a bit of it.

Incognito

When choirmaster Patrick stood alone on the stage and declared that he was ‘a choir’, I, like the judges and, I think it’s safe to say, the majority of the viewers, believed that he was going to impersonate a group of choristers all on his own. In fact, I was put in mind of Kay Oresanya, the ‘Human Saxophone’ from 2009’s series.

Alas, Patrick was not about to break into song. Instead, his choir proceeded to spring up from various areas of the auditorium and stage, dazzling us with their fantastic vocals. And they were fantastic.

The surprise element gave Incognito originality and made them stand out from the crowd but the question is: will they be able to come up with something equally unexpected and entertaining if they get through to the Semi-Finals?

Jack Carroll

You’d think that no one could fail to like Jack, but he has apparently received some rather nasty tweets since his appearance on Britain’s Got Talent. Some people just have too much time on their hands, don’t they?

Already an actor (alongside Vic Reeves in CBBC’s Ministry of Curious Stuff) and Pride of Britain award-winner, Jack took to the stage on Saturday’s show and had the audience – both at home and in the theatre – in stitches with his self-deprecating gags, poking fun at his cerebral palsy.

Of course, Jack isn’t the only comedian to have the condition: stand-up comic and actress Francesca Martinez does too, but prefers to refer to herself as ‘wobbly’. Both have a refreshing perspective on their condition – especially Jack who, at the age of just 14, hasn’t let it prevent him from getting on a stage and cracking a few jokes.

I have little doubt that Jack will progress onto the Semi-Finals and am relieved to hear that he will be diversifying his act. He said on This Morning that he is ‘not a one-trick pony’ and will joke about things other than his disability.

Arisxandra Libantino

It is difficult to comprehend that such a huge, mature voice lives in such a little, eleven-year-old girl!

Despite having been criticised (as it apparently details a one night stand – not that I or most of the viewers noticed), her rendition of Jennifer Hudson’s ‘One Night Only’ was spellbinding and seemed to me to be the perfect song to showcase her abilities.

The only criticism I have of Arisxandra’s audition is not about the girl herself – it is about Amanda Holden who, as wowed as everyone else by Arisxandra’s talent, claimed, ‘You literally lifted the roof off of this building.’ Well…that’s not ‘literally’ true is it, Amanda? I get your point, though.

Keri Graham (The Lap Dancer)

That’s not talent. I don’t quite know what it is, but it isn’t talent.

Attraction

By far my favourite act of the night was Attraction: a Hungarian dance troupe who brought something which the judges had likely never seen before: shadow theatre.

A few months ago, we briefly explored this branch of theatre during a Drama lesson in college. I expected to be bored by it (anything which isn’t naturalistic tends to irritate and tire me) but I actually found it really interesting. I was intrigued by how the performers, behind a screen, managed to manipulate shapes using only their shadows, and yet create such a moving story. Attraction had much the same effect on me – so much so that, once they had finished and a tearful audience were on their feet, I hit the rewind button and watched their performance once more.

They had a story to tell and a message to convey, and that really was palpable and done successfully. As you can probably tell, I am finding it extremely difficult to find fault with their performance.

I really do hope that the judges, when picking their Semi-Finalists, will realise how much Attraction have captured the public’s imagination and therefore put them through. Let’s hope that Britain’s Got Talent will help bring shadow theatre into the mainstream.

And people say that foreign acts should not be able to enter this competition?

Britain’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got More Talent are on Saturday evenings on ITV and ITV2

What did you think of this week’s Britain’s Got Talent? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Feel free to comment below or tweet me about this or any other TV show – @UKTVReviewer

You can also see my recommendations for the coming week’s TV on this blog, published every Saturday at midnight.

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