It’s Saturday night and I’m one of the 19 million watching the Britain’s Got Talent final. Having previously missed every second of this year’s BGT, I find the whole 150 minute spectacular an unpleasantly entertainment-free experience akin to cleansing one’s urethra with an icepick. The ‘talent’ seems never-ending. Pudding-bowl boy soprano Liam McNally sings a note perfect Danny Boy. Ant & Dec ask him how he slept last night. I expect him to say that he felt his balls dropping so spent most of the night wacking his crotch with a cricket bat screaming “get back up there you bastards!” but he rather boringly claims to have slept like a top. Another boy drums on a floating platform that tilts slightly to the left. His sticks don’t light up, he doesn’t dress as a gorilla, and he doesn’t even use his nascent member as a third drumstick. I stay awake by melting Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments onto my nipples.
Happy Shopper Mike Yarwood Paul Burling does Del Boy, he does Del Boy’s grandad, he does Jeremy Clarkson and Chris Tarrant. Amanda calls his impressions ‘current’. He gets no big laughs because every voice lasts less than three seconds, which showcases his mimetic variety but also his woeful lack of material. Piers says he’s a favourite, or a dark horse, or one to watch, I can’t remember which because he says exactly the same to everyone, even the octogenarian cadaver who warbles her entire mauling of ‘No Regrets’ so way off both key & tempo I thought she was rapping. I hope she does a Tommy Cooper on the last note. It doesn’t happen.
The dancing dog comes on. The audience are so desperate for entertainment they whoop & hollar when the dog proves capable of synchronising his leg movements to those of his mistress. If he’d curled one off on her shoe they’d probably have succumbed to mass spontaneous combustion. Simon suggests that the wonderdog should now crawl into a corner to die, perhaps disappointed that the entire routine wasn’t Tina weeping over Chandi’s weezing body while she administered a lethal injection to a Spice Girls ‘Goodbye’ backing track. Now that I would have paid to see. Five-piece boyband Connected shout Westlife. Tobias Mead does the same ‘urban contemporary’ St Vitus’ dance as Twist & Pulse but with a face drawn on the back of his head with felt tip pen. Neither act is fit to polish the porcelain of either Diversity or George Sampson.
Which leaves Spelbound. No, I don’t know why it’s not Spellbound either. Unless it’s German, which would explain a lot. Watching their perfect teenage bodies, forged in the merciless crucible of gymnastic dedication, gliding majestically over Piers Morgan’s fat head like gilded hawks, I feel my surroundings transmogrify. Suburban Pinner melts into the Bavarian Alps and I am no longer holding my beloved wife’s hand. I am stroking a German Shepherd as Spelbound form graceful parabolas with their fine-boned limbs on the sunkissed veranda of the Berghof. ’Frauline Reifenstahl,” I exclaim to the lady beside me, “these are fine physical specimens indeed. I demand you capture their Aryan beauty for the glory of the Reich immediately.”
“Jawol Mein Fuhrer!” Leni cries, leaping up to obey my command. I sit back, satisfied that my virile life force has in no way been diminished by the now sloppy segments of Terry’s Chocolate Orange on my nipples.
I awake just in time for the result. Little drummer boy – whose name is Gaffney (oh how that family’s cup of genius overfloweth) – comes third, the public apparently unsure of the true worth of a proto-Phil Collins, being as the actual Phil Collins still breathes. Do we need another one? Apparently we do, after a swift googling reveals that the original Genesis sticksman has a degenerative neurological condition that may, in future, proclude him from drumming. Perhaps Gaffney is the final product of Collins’ masterplan to clone himself for future generations? He has the motive, and the money, but still only comes third. Ha! I predict more than a few broken drumskins in the Collins mansion tonight.
All the other contestants are dismissed, guided downstage to the black curtain of oblivion. Some don’t even bother to wave. The dog mistress makes to shake Dec’s hand, only to see his face twist in revulsion as if she were a bag lady proffering a blow job. “Sorry love, off you go,” he mutters, his hand on her back pushing her toward the pet cemetery, the demands of live TV overriding his basic humanity. Only Twist & Pulse – this year’s Signature (who they?) – and Spelbound remain. The winner is announced. It’s a victory for dyslexic gymnasts everywhere, and I’m sure I can hear tanks outside. Or the whispering drone of a thousand Stukas. And Carl Orff, driving our boots toward the broad boulevards of Paris.
Simon says this would be a great act to open the Olympics. He’s right, but he’s 76 years off the mark. Christ knows what the Duke of Edinburgh’s going to do at the Royal Variety. Either pull his old service revolver or go full Nazi, it’s a toss-up.
Tanz, Tanz für das Vaterland meine Kinder!