Britain’s favourite talent show will be returning to TV screens imminently and continue the search for the next big named stars of the future. The show kicks off on April 16th on ITV and ITV Hub and will be hosted by the irrepressible Ant and Dec. They have been at the helm since 2007 and are as much part of the overall make-up of the show’s success as the format, the judges and, of course, the ever-hopeful talent.
Covid-19 has made for a difficult couple of years for the show with one series being completely cancelled and the other stretching over two years. The format is that hopefuls audition to the panel of professional judges before going on to be judged by the general public. Before they can get in front of the panel of Simon Cowell, Aleesha Dixon, David Walliams and Amanda Holden they have to make it through local auditions. The initial auditions are held in small, regional venues which are attended by the production team the autumn before the TV show is aired. The performers who the producers consider will make good TV go on to ‘Judges Auditions’. Traditionally these have been held in Cardiff, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, and London in Spring. The highlights of these auditions get broadcast, and it is here that we see the introduction of the judges’ buzzers. If all the red buzzers are pushed the performance ends there and then. Those who get the approval of the judges get the chance to progress to the next stage.
There is also a golden buzzer. Each judge has one of these and Ant and Dec have one between them. If a gold buzzer is pressed, the performer is showered in gold confetti, and they automatically progress to the next round regardless of what the other judges think. Ultimately, the winner is decided on by public vote. In the last series, the public agreed with Ant and Dec. They voted for John Courtenay who had been Ant and Dec’s Golden Buzzer selection during his audition.
The talent show is a staple of British culture and many of us will have fond memories of talent contests that we took part in at school or on holiday. From reading poetry to gymnastics, performing pets, dancing, singing, and acting many people have a hidden talent they like to show off given half a chance. Even if you are not so keen to get up on the stage, you can still participate in other ways. Drummond Park produces an electronic board game that has three hundred possible talent challenges for up to three players. There is also a Britain’s Got Talent popular megaways slots game with a unique ‘Live Show Bonus’. This bonus feature allows the player to spin a wheel to decide if they perform in the musical, dance, or novelty category. The louder the applause gets, the bigger the prize will be.
Britain’s Got Talent has uncovered some real hidden gems over the years. In 2019 it discovered British Korean war veteran Colin Thackeray who won the £250,000 prize and sang his way to The Royal Variety Performance. At 89, he is the oldest person who has won the show to date. Susan Boyle’s career was forged on the show and even though she came second to British street dance troupe Diversity, she still rose to fame. Another performer whose success is largely down to his LBT journey is Lee Ridley. Better known by his stage name, Lost Voice Guy, the stand-up comedian is unable to speak but communicates hilariously by way of his iPad. He had made his debut at Edinburgh Fringe in 2013 and in 2014 he won the BBC Radio New Comedy Awards, but LBT put him in front of a much more mainstream audience. He is now a regular name on the stand-up circuit, has been a guest on Channel 4’s Last Leg and recently appeared on BBC’s Live at The Apollo.
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