With most of you watching Eurovision on the other side, Britain’s Got Talent more or less took the week off.
As a warning that this edition was for die-hards only, there were a few almost insulting acts near the start: man balances 20 buckets on his head; man sings the words of Just the Way You Are to the tune of bagpipes being put in a cupboard; man does Michael Buble impression that sounds more like Michael Aspel. Then the circus came to town.
Lorna Bliss caused the BGT censors to break out their twin superimposed Union Jacks for the first time this series. Lorna is a seasoned Britney Spears impersonator. Her strong facial resemblance compelled her to follow that vocation, although she sang Toxic wearing pants, sequins and nothing else, not even a smile, so her face didn’t get much attention.
Lorna looked good in her non-outfit, but she was a visual impersonator only – her already shaky vocals suffered as she jiggled and stretched, then ran into the auditorium to lie flat out on the judges’ desk like a glittery bockwurst.
Circus of Horrors boasted a woman stuffed in a jar and another who hung by her hair. A man swallowed a sword.
It was tepid and random but I liked their top-hatted, white-faced spokesman Dr Haze, who billed himself as the “undead ringmaster” and followed the acts round the stage, pointing at them when they were about to do something. He didn’t achieve anything himself, but was integral to morale, like a vampire Mike Brearley.
The Horrors’ more wholesome rivals were Enchantment, who did that twizzly material-hanging-from-the-ceiling type of acrobatics that’s usually seen in the background on The X Factor during ill-chosen ballads.
To complete the effect, one of them stood there and sang Con te partiro, the emotional resonance of it only slightly compromised by his cartoon tiger face paint.
After the all-time lows of Hot Pot Theatre (synchronised shopping-trolley dancing) and Wachiraporn Tirpak (Thai woman strips, then dresses again, but as an air hostess), the finale was the Highwaymen, a gang of Royal Marines drummers. They played the drums together, like they do for a living, but in highwaymen costumes. It was basically Stomp without the bin lids.
The judges understandably said no, pointing out that people drumming in sync is boring. But the audience and – for the first time in BGT’s five-year history! – Ant and Dec disagreed, emerging from the wings to whip up the crowd and support our brave drumming boys. Just the sort of stunt producers like to have in reserve, in case the actual performers aren’t providing any interest.