All-singing, all-dancing return for Britain’s Got Talent – but that final act was a cynical shame

The heavily hyped comeback of Britain’s Got Talent (ITV) ended with a bang, a press of the golden buzzer and a hail of glitter confetti. Yet this rousing climax felt cynically contrived and against the supposed spirit of the show. Britain’s got enough amateur talent, thanks very much, so why import American professionals?

After a pandemic-enforced year off, the variety franchise returned with an Easter episode full of sweet surprises. The last of these was singer Loren Allred, a 32-year-old New Yorker who revealed that she had actually sung the anthemic Never Enough from hit movie musical The Greatest Showman. Actress Rebecca Ferguson had merely lip-synced along to Allred’s vocal. She now belted it out herself, blew the roof off London’s Palladium Theatre and was waved straight through to the live semi-finals. 

It was sold as overdue recognition for a faceless underdog, stepping into the spotlight for the first time, but Allred was a blatant ringer. She’s not just formally trained but has had a record deal, hit single, and has duetted with Michael Bublé and Andrea Bocelli. Hardly a plucky hopeful seeking their big break.

A shame because until that point, this was an irresistible curtain-raiser. Now in its 15th series, BGT remains feelgood family entertainment when it’s not manufacturing fake drama.

Head honcho Simon Cowell was back behind the judging table, having missed much of the 2020 contest after breaking his back in an e-bike crash. And then promptly having another prang 18 months later. At an eerily youthful 62, he’s old enough to know better. 

Clearly reinvigorated by putting his Cuban heels up, Cowell was on warm-humoured form. He even tolerated the endless teasing by camp clown David Walliams. The bickering duo were joined once again by luvvie-ish Amanda Holden and the curiously clothing-averse Alesha Dixon. This marks the quartet’s 10th year together, making them the longest-serving judging panel on-air after that shouty MasterChef pair. TV gigs don’t get tougher than this.

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