Yes, Britain's Got Talent features established performers - but who cares as long as they entertain us?
Viewers complaining that so many BGT acts have professional experience should just sit back and enjoy the show, says Kimberley Bond
Pint-sized rock band Chapter 13 secured the final Golden Buzzer of the 13th series of Britain’s Got Talent on Saturday, with the teenage foursome heading straight through to the show’s live semi-finals.
Chosen by Amanda Holden, who called them “absolutely spot on”, they're now among the hot favourites to win the competition.
But while the confetti rained down in the London Palladium, vitriol poured in from viewers on Twitter, who felt it was unfair that Chapter 13 had received a free pass to the semis when they already had stage experience from working on the popular School of Rock musical.
Chapter 13 aren’t the only performers with a so-called ‘showbiz past’; every audition show of this series has been littered with professional or semi-professional acts, from comedians (Kojo Anim supported Kevin Hart on tour) to acrobats (the sword-balancing Vardanyan Brothers have performed their nail-biting stunts globally and won Russia’s version of BGT) to magicians (magical dance troupe Angels Inc appeared on-screens across Europe after winning a Dutch circus-based programme, while their founder Sittah Koene starred on US series The Masters of Illusions).
Even the adorable kids from Flakefleet Primary School haven't avoided a tarring brush with fame – they previously tried to score a Christmas number one and appeared on ITV News to give their take on last year's Royal Wedding.
Each year, an increasingly vocal crowd will boohoo about it not being fair that previously established acts are allowed on Britain’s Got Talent – but I think they're missing the point of the show.
TV has (for the most part) moved on from the ritual humiliation of its participants; instead of roaring with laughter at some poor sod who can’t sing a note, Britain’s Got Talent is now filled with acts that are talked about because they showcase some awe-inspiring skills. Take magician Ben Hart, for instance, or circus act Duo A&J, who performed with Cirque du Soleil.
Amid the furore of who’s previously done what when, people have lost sight of the show’s core purpose – to be top-class Saturday night entertainment.
And if that means 90 minutes of honed and polished professional acts rather than a string of mediocre unknowns, I'll take the real talent every time.
Britain’s Got Talent continues Saturdays at 8pm on ITV