Attraction sailed through tonight’s final semi with a performance that had the judges on their feet, tissues being reached for across the nation’s living rooms, and punters rushing to back them down to 4/9 favourites for the victory next Saturday night.
Which means we have to address again the question Boki asked earlier in the week, imagining this eventuality: are they unstoppable?
Nobody’s unstoppable in BGT; the question is how strong is producers’ appetite to do so. As Kevin puts it in the comments:
Attraction may be an act that familiarity undermines somewhat. Simon did mention the “not British” angle also… there is a long week there and Attraction could be nobbled yet. The gushing praise was worrying alright but with a big audience perhaps it was for tonight’s show as opposed to the Final itself. The performances on the night will be critical.
We shouldn’t forget that Attraction will perform either their audition routine again, in which case it’ll be the first time they lack the surprise factor; or a new routine, in which case they run the risk of failing to reach the heights we’ve got used to. In either eventuality, an early slot and a subtle dialling down of judge gushing could conceivably be enough to put the brakes on.
But it would clearly be foolish to discount the possibility that we’re heading for an Attraction pimp slot. We’ve always struggled to see a convincing counterargument to the idea that having a non-British act win the show would undermine the longevity of the format. But tonight, with Simon’s speech about being honoured to welcome Attraction, a possible counterargument presented itself:
Might the thinking be that the longevity of the format could be served by bringing in more and more foreign acts, which would widen the pool of talent, if only the public could be persuaded to accept it? And is Attraction the act with which producers are planning to run the not-insignificant risk of crossing that particular Rubicon? Could Britain’s Got Talent evolve into Britain’s Got The Ability To Attract Talent From All Over The World?
Or will we, next week, see a judgely banging of the patriotic drum on behalf of Jack Carroll or Richard & Adam?
We described the singing Welsh sandwich-makers as variety show catnip after their semi, which featured a couple of references to patriotic pride from the judges. But as the week has progressed, we’ve been getting a sneaking sense of deja vu all over again – a shift of momentum from a popera duo to an act representing a genre box we suspect the show would quite like to tick in its list of winners.
Popera acts will always be a relatively easy sell on this show; less so dancing dogs or comedians. Just as Pudsey last year provided a perfect storm, will producers decide they’ll never have a better opportunity to get a comedian over the line? Stoney, who deserves credit for a series of good calls in the comments this week, notes that “my flag is firmly pinned to jacky boy”.
Elsewhere, The Luminites got an extraordinary amount of pimping when winning their Thursday semi, but are arguably the kind of act that – like last year’s Loveable Rogues – don’t need to be pushed for the win in order to launch their career. And it’s not immediately obvious why Friday’s winner, Francine Lewis, should fare significantly better than the fifth place secured by fellow impressionist Paul Burling in 2010.
It’s not unprecedented for a semi-final loser to turn the tables in the final – Diversity did so on Susan Boyle; might any of this year’s runners-up conceivably sneak a podium at a fancy price? We’re also yet to have the wildcard confirmed.