BoyleWatch: Does Britain Really Have Talent?


Susan Boyle shouldn’t be too scared right now. Her competition continues to be small potatoes as auditions finally begin to wind up. This weekend’s big star was Aiden Davis, a pint-sized British version of So You Think Can Dance? contestant Gev Manoukian. Except for the fact that you could put Aiden Davis on any street corner in Bed-Stuy, have a dance-off with the locals, and he’d be obliterated. That’s the thing about this show – even though Simon Cowell and friends claim they are looking for the next big superstar, they are selling sap, sentimentality, and phony uplift more than anything else.

Weeks ago, people were wondering why Simon isn’t as much of a nasty beeyotch on Britain’s Got Talent as he is on American Idol. Well, that’s not entirely the case: Simon let his beeyotch flag fly this weekend on BGT when he buzzed off 2 Grand, a grandpa/granddaughter duo who performed a crowd-pleasing version of “A Whole New World.” “I just think it’s like putting seven sugars in your coffee,” Cowell said. “It’s just too sweet.” But doesn’t the whole show run on high-fructose corn syrup? Simon was too tactful to say it, but he was probably thinking that the 76-year-old grandpa has about two good years left. Hardly worth a long-term investment. Now if we could only get that honey-voiced 12-year-old away from the creepy old guy…

Also: did Britain’s Got Talent allow a religious zealot – Neil Horan, a defrocked priest known for disrupting sporting events – on the show? A spokesperson from Britain’s Got Talent says, “Neil attended auditions to display his talent at Irish dancing and his past only came to light following his performance.”

In other news:

  • “Survivalist” Bear Grylls has been named Chief Scout of Britain, and people are pissed.(The Times)
  • Alexander Rybak of Norway won Eurovision this past weekend, and Heidi Stephens remarks about him on a Guardian liveblog nearly caused an international incident.
  • Was Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Eurovision song for England really that bad? Oh, it was.(Telegraph)
  • Colin Greenwood says Radiohead‘s working on their follow-up to In Rainbows: “It’s really cool and everything is sounding great. It’s early days and it is a bit like having a scrapbook at the moment because everything is up in the air, but it’s good to be back in the studio.”(NME)
  • Ricky Gervais refused to pose for a chocolate statue of himself. “I’ve been asked a couple of times to do waxworks – one was chocolate – but I just couldn’t be bothered to sit there for three hours! If they can do it from a photo then they are welcome.”(Digital Spy)
  • Gervais’ podcasts will get the animated treatment thanks to HBO.(Chortle)
  • The Norman Conquests won awards for play revival, director, and best ensemble performance at last night’s Drama Desk Awards.
  • The Daily Obvious from Variety: BBC Films is making a sequel to East Is East and I’ll give you one guess what it’s called. Also, Peter Morgan is directing a movie about Tony Blair, and I’ll give you one guess who’s playing him.

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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