DJ Talent (Rapper)
Merlin Cadogan (Escape Artist)
Hot Honeyz (All female dance group)
Jamie Pugh (Singer)
Peter Coghlan (Drag Act)
Gareth Oliver (Ventriloquist)
Shaun Smith (Singer)
Flawless (All male dance group)
So today going into the finals my hopeful speculation for the top three was Flawless, Shaun Smith and Jamie Pugh. I absolutely love Jamie, he's extremely talented and the fact that he gets extremely nervous just endears him to me more.
DJ Talent: Our theory going into tonight was that DJ Talent's real talent was getting through talent shows with no talent. His audition consisted almost entirely of "I say Britain, you say Talent. Britain's Got Talent it's the DJ Talent" repeated until he was buzzed off. Nevertheless, he got four yeses and was actually very entertaining. Upon watching him the first time he doesn't -seem- entertaining. But then you find yourself repeating the song to yourself and bopping along and you grow to love the guy. Which is why I'm very glad that his performance today was fantastic. I loved it. I knew he wasn't finals material but he opened his performance by sliding out on a gold thrown surrounded by pole dancers, and here's a huge shock to all of us, he actually rapped! he's actually moderately talented at it! Piers and Amanda both loved it and Simon, of course, hated it. At least, though, it was an improvement on his auditions which is becoming rarer and rarer as the semi-finals go on.
Merlin Cadogan: This guy made me very very nervous. His audition was crazy. He jugged fire while chained up with his head submerged in a helmet of water, and then escaped from the chains and removed the helmet of water before he drowned. He had told Simon that if he gets through to the next round the most extreme it could go is that he could die from one of his stunts. Today, on live television, he decided to attempt a trick that Houdini said was his most dangerous trick ever, escaping from a straight jacket while suspended upside down by a rope. Except Merlin added two additional catches. First, he set the rope on fire, and second, he had never practiced the trick before. As soon as he said that I became terrified that I was about to see a guy break his neck on live television. The good news is he didn't. He managed to escape from the straight jacket and get himself down from the rope safely. Amanda wasn't really sure about the act, but Simon seemed mostly pleased saying that anyone who is willing to die on this show gets a 10/10 from him. For my part, I don't think it was all that entertaining. I was incredibly nervous and when it was over I didn't feel I had been very entertained by it. He's clearly talented, I just don't think I enjoy watching him enough.
Hot Honeyz: This group performed a dance act in the auditions that was pretty good. They introduced themselves as a dance act "with a twist" the twist was that at the end they took off their dresses for the last bit where they were in like stockings and leotards. Simon said that going into the semi-finals "less is more." They took that advice to heart and today they ended in lingerie instead. Unfortunately, their act was a little on the bland side and Piers and Simon both buzzed them. They are great at keeping in sync with each other but they did not do anything interesting or challenging other than that. Dance acts need more than syncronisity to make it to the finals so they were a bit of a disappointment.
Jamie Pugh: Oh Jamie. I love Jamie. Everytime I see him I just want to give him a hug and tell him he's amazing and shouldn't give up on himself. He is the most nervous person I've ever seen on a talent show. In his audition he sang "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis and gave one of the most emotional performances I've ever seen. The judges, though, told him he needs to have confidence in himself if he wants to win this. Tonight he really tried to conquer his nerves but he couldn't do it completely. He sang "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha. He sang it very well, in my opinion, and although I didn't feel as moved as I did in his audition I thought he gave a solid performance. The judges disagreed and Amanda even buzzed him. It's unfortunate because I think he really needs the confidence. Once his performance was over I knew that unless he won the number 1 slot (which I was pretty sure was going to Flawless) he was not getting through to the finals.
Peter Coghlan: Peter Coghlan aka Mama Trish gave a very funny audition with just one part that grossed me out. He's a overweight guy who came out and belly danced in drag. In the audition he really played up his weight and made it very funny by shaking his belly with his hands and such. In the semi-finals? He was boring. He walked around and lip synced to the song and just did some light body motions when he danced. He was oddly one of my bigger disappointments because I didn't think he could really screw his act up. The judges agreed as well. It was funny too because we had a friend over watching with us and he kept asking "Why is this guy in the semi-finals" and we had to keep telling him that the audition was really funny. I mean, I think Peter is a bit disgusting myself but not on the Nick Hell level and he's the kind of disgusting I can laugh at. It's unfortunate that he, like many other acts, failed to step up or even stay level with their audition act.
Gareth Oliver: Gareth did something with ventriloquism in his audition that I've never seen anybody do. He did his own badly dubbed martial arts movie by throwing his voice. It was funny, and brilliant and he showed that he was extremely talented. The danger with acts like this is that you always want to show that you aren't a one trick pony and do something different from the audition, but the audition was what made you good. This time he brought out a puppet, did a comedy act, and sung. It took a lot of talent but it wasn't as entertaining. Piers and Amanda both loved him still, and Simon turned on him saying that he's seen the same act better performed by lots of other performers. I wasn't so sure about him and I really wasn't so sure about my top three prediction because at this point nobody seemed to be impressing the judges so I didn't know how the viewers were reacting. I just knew that I wanted Jamie to have a chance and so I would have voted for him if I could.
Shaun Smith: Shaun was a different voice in a sea of singers this year. He sung "Ain't No Sunshine" in his audition and to hear this beautiful soulful voice coming out of this 17-year-old rugby player was something surreal and strangely calming. I knew he would manage to get in the top three (and probably the top two) if he picked the right song, and he's the only singer that I honestly thought could give Susan Boyle a run for her money in the finals. Did he pick the right song? Yes, and how. He sung "With or Without You" by U2 but in a completely different way than I've ever heard it before, and he made it work. He owned the audience with that song and just reinforced my belief that he was finals material. The judges adored him, and Simon said he finally felt like he was judging a talent competition again. Shaun was the only act other than DJ Talent thus far who put on a better performance than in his audition and I think he may be even more talented than Susan Boyle. I know I would not want to choose between them.
Flawless: These guys were a great act in the auditions and the first dance act to really blow the judges and the audience away. They are Diversity's big competition and vice versa and they know it. They even mentioned that since Diversity got through last night they had even more pressure to make sure they get through today. And Simon said that "they have to step it up, way up."One of their main skill is putting themselves in very uncomfortable positions and not moving. They continued with that trend tonight and I thought hey put on a fantastic performance. Did they step it up? I actually think they didn't. I think their audition was better and more entertaining, but the judges loved them and, to be fair, they were one of the two best acts of the night. Were they as good as Diversity? I don't think so, but I don't get to decide.
The evening closed with a performance by electric string quartet Escala, who were in the finals last year. Their performance was also incredible, it's too bad people don't get to vote for them again. So who won?
Well first place, as I expected, went to Flawless, but the two acts up for debate after that were Shaun Smith and... Gareth Oliver. This is a tense decision for the judges. I said I thought it was going to be a quick choice because Shaun's performmance was so obviously better than Gareth's. It wasn't -quite- as quick as I thought.
Simon: "Shaun." No seriously that's all he said and it moved on to Piers.
Piers: Piers said that he loved Shaun but it's a variety show and since Simon doesn't seem to get variety he would give Gareth a chance and vote for him.
Amanda: Amanda got put in the tight spot tonight, then, and really seemed to agonize about it saying that Piers was right about this being a variety show and there being a lot of singers, but in the end she voted for Shaun anyway because he was the best act.
So in the end my prediction was only two-thirds correct. I loved Jamie and I hope he never gives up his dream regardless of what the judges said. I have to agree with the top two again though, they were definitely the best performances. I actually think Shaun deserves the number one spot in those votes because his performance was just incredible.
A big problem with the semi-finals has been that the acts aren't as good as their auditions and it's an understandable problem. Performers put on the best performance they can for the audition because they have to impress the judges more than, in the case of this year, 160 other acts. THEN they have to somehow find a way to make their act better? It's almost impossible. But it really helps a semi-final performance if they can do it.
Next Semi-Final: Tomorrow 2:30 Central, 8:30 London time.