There was a real conflict of interest for the lovers of camp and cabaret for TV lovers in the UK at the weekend. BBC One was serving up the annual Eurovision fest, with Graham Norton at the helm, while Simon Cowell was bolstering his BGT panel on ITV 1.
Of course, most know what to expect from the Eurovision experience although there is always the odd staging surprise that adds to the general carnival atmosphere. This year Italy’s dancing gorilla almost won them the competition and many are still wondering why ‘that’ horse was up a ladder on one set.
Similarly, Britain’s Got Talent can serve up some real shocks and surprises, some born of excellence and others born of deluded idiocy. Unfortunately, the cast of characters who paraded in front of Walliams, Dixon, Holden and Cowell were mainly out of the latter category this weekend.
Dismal dancers, crappy crooners dominated the acts on show with one pensioner turning the whole process into a cornucopia of chaos in Blackpool.
74-year-old Mal Ford took to the stage with his electric organ sporting an appropriate red jacket, in true Blackpool tradition, and proceeded to rouse the audience with some unbearably dreadful end of the pier classics.
Within a couple of minutes all four judges hit their buzzers to reject his efforts. However, the enthusiastic Mal was either deaf, or oblivious, enthusiastically pursuing his playlist and ignoring any suggestion to leave the stage.
Even Ant and Dec were unable to eject Ford, who continued to sing and play with all the expertise of a penguin juggling, in fact that is in some part underestimating the skills of a penguin.
So relentless was the old performer, that it was only when the judges relented in their criticism and reversed their decision, that he could be coaxed into the wings.
It was of course one of those classic BGT moments that will be remembered for years to come, however Mr Ford is going nowhere near the final.
When Matt Edwards took to the stage shortly after Mal, it seemed that yet another deluded chump was about to chance his luck. With all the energy and chaotic babble of Lee Evans, Matt promised magic with a surreal twist.
With patter reminiscent of Michael Crawford in ’Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em’, Matt not only cleverly performed some original tricks but cast a spell over the audience. By the end of his five minutes, all four judges were in a trance and when Ant and Dec pressed the golden buzzer, it was clear a star was born.
Original, entertaining, funny and smart, Simon Cowell confirmed that finding talent like Edwards was what BGT was designed for.
A thoroughly indifferent episode was saved by a real character who the public are sure to want to see a lot more of.