For the second night running it was obvious who the two successful acts would be. Les Gibson and James Hobley left the bad, strange and both a long way back.
Circus of Horrors were in the doomed opening slot, with it all to do. Their ringleader, Dr Haze, promised that this routine was so extreme, “If it goes wrong, it could be fatal.”
You couldn’t see how. Often, the coverage was so ineptly directed you literally couldn’t see (Hey, telly people! That wide shot from the back of the arena is a waste of time!), but when you could take in Circus of Horrors, they weren’t horrifying or in a circle.
“If I was the royal family,” said Simon Cowell, bravely imagining a huge loss of wealth and status, “I’d love to watch this.” Unusually generous, that. Prince Philip would begin firing within seconds, with some justification.
Then there was the good, wholesome disaster of geriatric dog act Angela and Teddy. Teddy pushed Angela’s shopping trolley a couple of times but, by the end, Angela was bent over in her floral dress and jaunty pumps, facing away from the audience as she tried to coax Teddy into the basket.
Angela picked Teddy up and dumped him in there in the end. The music had stopped already.
Put through to the semi-finals for no discernible reason, the live stage was no place for poor Wachiraporn Tirpak. Her act included two costume changes, but no performance in-between.
Having mimed to Rihanna for a bit and had her frock ripped off by backing dancers, Wachiraporn disappeared into a sort of spangly roadmender’s tent before emerging in a Union Jack dress and miming to the Spice Girls.
There was another tent on the other side of the stage. Wachiraporn wiggled over, went inside, and stayed there for so long, I was half-expecting Karen out of David & Karen to burst out instead.
Sadly not. Wachiraporn eventually teetered out in a third outfit, to face the judges’ mockery. She cried and apologised for being so terrible. Poor Wachiraporn.
Impressionist Les Gibson improved on his audition, with better punch lines and a corking Gordon Ramsay. Young dancer James Hobley was as captivating as before: very rough around the edges, but just as likely to quickly do something amazing as he was to briefly lose his balance. Les and James seemed to know they were on the way to the final.
Some other acts know that the semis are their only chance. Handbell lovers Gay & Alan grabbed it and gave it a shake.
Alan had ditched his boyish bob and invested in a sleek, sexy haircut. Gay was dressed as a sequined polyester bell.
Playing a two-song Phantom of the Opera medley on a luxury selection of handbells, Gay and Alan looked in each other’s eyes, surging back and forth, asking and answering deep questions with their increasingly rapid dinging. Sometimes their bells clashed, but the pure physical expression was undimmed.
The camera cut to Amanda Holden, sitting bolt upright, her heavily rouged lips slowly mouthing a single word: “Fabulous.” Gay & Alan finished third.