BGT 2016: all the best bits from semi-final week

From Ant's beard and Beau's standing ovation to Darth Vader and dancing monkeys - here are the 15 must-watch moments from this week's Britain's Got Talent semi-finals


1. Ant’s beard causes a stir

As soon as the first live semi-final got going there was action thanks to Ant’s brand new beard. Oh yes ladies and gentleman, it’s the big news first of all: Britain’s Got Beard Love.


Indeed, the usually clean-shaven co-host sported a bit of stubble and the internet went wild.

“It’s like yours, less grey,” Ant teased boss Simon Cowell, who, conversely, got a fair bit of ribbing tonight. David Walliams joked Cowell would one day end up pickled and in a BGT museum, while Amanda Holden noted he should probably think about proposing to his girlfriend who she knew would be watching at home. Awks. Perhaps Cowell should have his own secret button to quickly shove the action to a close-up of Ant’s beard to distract us all. Or perhaps a commercial break? Although there’s quite enough of those…

2. Alesha Dixon ‘screwed up’ an act

The second biggest moment of the week came thanks to a botched performance from crossbow shooter Ben Blaque.

Blaque has a penchant for putting the judges in danger. In his first audition it was Mr Cowell who faced a blindfolded Blaque firing arrows in his direction. Tonight the tables were turned and Ms Dixon was supposed to fire arrows at the performer, the idea being she (somehow) avoided the one aimed to kill.

However, Dixon – who admitted she was finding the whole thing quite fun – didn’t only pour cold water on the intensity and this-is-really-near-death-stuff vibe, she accidentally shot two arrows at once.

With some excellent skills on the pause button by BGT’s viewers you can see that Blaque was very nearly hit. Yikes.

But it’s OK because Cowell said screwing it up made it more entertaining. “I could see how nervous you were – Alesha being an idiot made it better,” he insisted. Sure, a man nearly being impaled is exactly what we tune in for.

3. Our first potential winner

In all honesty the first semi-final was a bit slow going. The singers were good but didn’t blow the roof off, the dance acts were OK but got a bit slow in the middle and while there were no buzzers the judges weren’t afraid to be honest with their critique (cough, Simon telling one act their dancing was “lazy”).

So there was a sense of ‘thank goodness for them’ when Alesha Dixon’s Golden Buzzer act 100 Voices of Gospel took to the stage. Packing a punch with their vocals and dazzling with their fancy footwork Cowell layered on the praise:

“Your first audition was fantastic… in my opinion this was better. This was in such a different league to everything else I’ve heard tonight. By far the best choir I’ve heard.”

“I want an application form so that I can join…” gushed a chuffed Dixon.


“It was more than a vocal performance, it was a show,” Cowell added. “Every one of you gave 100%. This is the act for me that after 10 years could and should win.”

Now that’s what we want to be hearing.

It was perhaps no surprise then that they were the first semi-final winners with Mel and Jamie joining them in the final, too.

4. Simon Cowell struggled to work out Alex Magala’s performance

It’s safe to say Cowell isn’t entirely sold on why Alex Magala wants to swallow swords and fall from a height, while blindfolded, towards spinning drills.

“What am I supposed to say after that?” Cowell said following the heart-pumping audition in the second semi-final. “I can’t say it’s good… they were like 8-inch drills so you were about to puncture yourself 100 times. I want you to go through to the finals but them I’m dreading what you’re going to do next. I think you’re certifiably mad. No-one has risked their life more on all the years on this show and for that I have to congratulate you.”

He wasn’t done there. Turning to Magala himself, a flabbergasted Cowell asked: “Why are you doing this?”

Magala went on to explain that he hoped his act helped show people not to be afraid when chasing their dreams. But Cowell still wasn’t sold: “What about a walk in the park?”

Well, you can’t say he’s not honest.

Cowell will have to see more of Magala however, as his vote helped land him a spot in the final this Saturday night. So watch this space. From behind a cushion maybe.

5. Vitaly Voronko confused everyone with his dancing monkeys

Vitaly Voronko confused the judges with his mash-up of Lion King songs and Michael Jackson tracks. Throw in the fact that he was dressed as a superhero surrounded by dancing monkeys and no one would blame you for thinking you needed to readjust your television set.

He earned three buzzers (sparking many comments online about why the judges put him through in the first place) from Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon. And Cowell wasn’t backwards at coming forwards with his thoughts on the whole thing. “That was arguably – honestly – one of the worst thing I’ve seen at this stage of the competition,” he said of the accordion player.

Although he was silenced by the quick wit of David Walliams when he moaned the masks were like those you’d buy in a joke shop.

“It’s your show – spend a bit more money!” Walliams quipped.

That told him didn’t it?

6. Hold tight, Wayne Woodward only went and won

Oh yes, ladies and gentleman cheeky chap Wayne Woodward scooped victory on the second semi-final. He changed his song on the day, so hat’s off to him for getting everything bang on. Although it was his choice. He simply got bored of rehearsing whatever his other song was. So it was down to him to pull it out of the bag. And he did. Even remembering to tell the audience to get home safe after he was told he’d won. What a charmer.

7. Simon Cowell called Richard Jones a wizard with magic powers

We like finalist Richard Jones as much as the next BGT fan, but Simon Cowell is 100% convinced that soldier-turned-magician Richard Jones is a genuine wizard.

“You, sir are a wizard,” said Cowell after Jones left the judge’s open-mouthed with his tricks during semi-final number three. “That has to be magic. You are genuinely nice guy who has magic powers.”

The rest of the judges were almost as impressed with his act, which used a copy of Amanda Holden’s autobiography. “That’s the best magic trick we’ve seen in 10 years on this show,” said Holden. “It is proper magic.”

8. Darth Vader took to the stage

As if a troupe of dancing Stormtroopers wasn’t enough, Boogie Storm invited their dark leader Darth Vader himself to the Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals. He kicked off proceedings, warning the dancers not to disappoint after bagging Simon’s golden buzzer during the auditions.

Far to say they didn’t… “We are possibly looking at the winners of Britain’s Got Talent,” Cowell gushed. “I absolutely love whatever you are. I have literally waited all my life to see this. So fun, so fantastic, so original. This is what the royal family want.”

And even Cowell’s fellow judges had to agree, albeit begrudgingly. “It’s annoying, because [Simon] is so smug,” said David Walliams. “I hate to say it but I think this act is going to go far.”

9. Morgan Connie Smith impressed… after taking a GCSE exam

She might not have made it to the final, coming in 5th on Wednesday’s public vote, but 16-year-old Morgan Connie Smith won at life today. The schoolgirl, who impressed the judges with her “raw talent”, performed live to the nation on Britain’s Got Talent after sitting a GCSE paper. That’s right, she came straight from the exam hall to the studio to sing. We can’t get over how impressive that is. What a star!

10. Simon Cowell tried to name all 66 members of The Collaborative Orchestra and Singers

The flash mob orchestra wowed the judges during the fourth semi-final, showing us the true meaning of surround sound with musicians and singers placed all around the auditorium.

They did lots of impressive things like spinning their cellos around mid-performance and reaching some especially lovely notes. But forget the act – what Simon Cowell thought was really impressive was his ability to name all 66 members of the orchestra and choir.

Thankfully Ant and Dec cut him off sternly, saying he didn’t have time for that because they had some, you know, actual performances to watch.

The Collaborative Orchestra went down well with the panel, with Alesha saying “that was epic, you’ve taken over the entire studio. This act’s got the royal variety show written all over it.” Meanwhile Amanda said felt like she was at last night of the proms (alright for some, eh!).

11. David Walliams got a weird tingly feeling about Tumar KR

The robotic dance group from Kyrgystan performed a wonderfully weird Frankenstein-themed dance tonight, winning major praise from Simon Cowell. “Oh god, that was brilliant,” he gushed. “That was so much better than the first audition. Brilliant, congratulations”

The dancers, whose English is limited, had a translator on stage with them for the judge’s feedback. And we can only imagine how they put David Walliam’s comments into Kyrgyz.

“It gave me a weird tingly feeling downstairs and I don’t like it”.

12. Beau Dermott got a standing ovation – and some amazing praise

Amanda Holden was a very happy judge after her Golden Buzzer act, 12 year-old singer Beau Dermott, astounded audiences again with Someone Like You from Jekyll and Hyde.

All four judges were on their feet by the end of the impressive song, with Amanda saying, “I’m so proud of you. Your voice, I think, was even better than your audition. I could not be more thrilled for you, well done darling”.

Meanwhile Simon Cowell kept it short and seriously sweet; “Very simply, this is why we make the show. For people like you.

“I guarantee you we’re going to look back…and say THIS is the moment we discovered a star”.

Could she win the final? Watch this space.

13. Togni Brothers suffer scary fall during their performance

Having caught up with Michael, 21, and Dario, 20, backstage this the afternoon of their performance we have to say we watched them perform from the edge of our seats. They’d already admitted they’d had only a week to rehearse the brand new choreography after Dario underwent therapy for a ripped back muscle. Then they admitted that should the crowd or the music or the buzzers (god help us) be too loud they wouldn’t be able to hear each other’s cues and the whole thing could go terribly wrong. They reminded us – as if we needed it – that foot juggling could be very dangerous and could easily go wrong. And tonight they suffered a dramatic fall right in the middle of their performance proving just that.

However, the lads proved just how cool they are under pressure, taking a brief pause before repeating the move and absolutely nailing it. The judges couldn’t say enough good things about them for showing their “guts” and ability to pick themselves up (quite literally) and dust themselves down.

While their impressive attitude seemed likely to encourage viewers to pick up the phone and vote, they were unfortunately voted out. Although the judges’ Wildcard could still see them return.

14. Jasmine Elcock vs Trip Hazard

Dogs and BGT go hand-in-hand (or should that be paw in hand?) so it looked like Ant and Dec’s sensational Golden Buzzer act Jasmine Elcock was going to miss out on a place in the final. David Walliams admitted he’d fallen in love with the pup during Lucy and Trip’s Beauty and the Beast inspired performance. But Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell eventually chose to back Jasmine.

Cowell pleaded with the public not to hate him, but Jasmine is a hugely popular act on the show. Her Golden Buzzer givers Ant and Dec were almost bursting with pride, Ant telling her he was “very proud” she was going into the final. Online, many had already compared the young singer to 2006 X Factor champ Leona Lewis for this gorgeous cover of Birdy’s Wings.

15. Craig Ball wins the last semi-final

Impressionist Craig Ball seemed to be throwing caution to the wind during the final semi-final, telling us his act included some voices he’d never performed to anyone. But it paid off. His impressions ranged from Kermit the Frog (this is his favourite) to Shrek as he got them all to sing Adele’s Hello. Simon Cowell was beside himself saying it was “so me”.

“Oh my god Craig I loved every single bit of that – it’s fun, original and I knew who everyone was!” the boss of the panel gushed.

And after more than 1.5million votes were cast, Ball was announced as the winner, helping make up what (after the addition of the two Wildcards) will be a 12-strong final.


Britain’s Got Talent Final is on Saturday at 7.30pm on ITV