The right act won, of course. Diversity, the thrilling, exhilarating, endlessly inventive dance troupe thoroughly deserved to take the Britain’s Got Talent crown in Saturday’s final. They were breathtakingly good, their routines packed with humour and endless imagination.
They were nice boys too. My weary middle-aged heart fluttered at the decency and good manners of Diversity’s choreographer and driving force, Ashley Banjo. My faith in human nature was restored by Banjo’s politeness and charm, and the fact that there was no X Factor-y sobbing, pleading or over-emoting about “journeys”. Banjo was the rarest of TV talent show contestants – a man with a sense of proportion.
Maybe the next series should be called Britain’s Got Manners because the sheer good-naturedness of the contestants was truly winning. Julian Smith, who everyone described as a saxophonist, though I’d swear he was playing the clarinet, came on last (not easy) and was completely gracious, telling hosts Ant and Dec, who in their black ties looked like two tiny pallbearers: “I really wanted to round the show off nicely for everyone.” As Smith departed after coming a creditable third, he added: “It’s been an honour.” Aww.
There were uncomfortable moments, though. Like many others, I doubt the wisdom of including very young children in Britain’s Got Talent, even though Simon Cowell put up a spirited justification on the big night. I’m no great fan of child performers, but watching wee bodypopper Aidan Davis crumple into tears when he didn’t get Cowell’s wholehearted backing was tough.
I know kids have to learn to fail and to deal with rejection, but at the age of 11, on telly in front of millions? That’s a big deal, even for an adult.
Of course, a disproportionate amount of attention was focused on Susan Boyle, who was clearly fragile, an impression borne out by what is alleged to have happened subsequently. Unfortunately, she was riding the cusp of the inevitable and horrible media backlash (they build ’em up and then they knock ’em down again).
Boyle was emotionally hanging on by her fingernails and her look of frozen terror as her name was announced as one of the final three was hard to bear. As were her inappropriate gestures as she left the stage. Here’s hoping Boyle gets the rest, peace and support that she needs.