It's back, the usual collection of Britain's misfits have been selected to reach the semifinals. While auditions are edited to ensure the best camera angles and to cut out awkward pauses - it's not a luxury available for the live shows. Those with an actual skill need to ensure their act is slick and has good pace across the allotted time.
Semifinals can throw up surprises as well, it's often the case that the hotly tipped acts absolutely bomb on the night and a completely unforeseen contestant sails through, these tend to be difficult to identify, particularly before seeing the act in question, or indeed the crucial running order. Nevertheless, we'll be updating this article every day of the semifinals, analysing each contestant and how we think they'll get on.
Semi Final 1:
- Akshat Singh (Dancing) - Hahaha! A fat kid is dancing! Look, he's so fat! This is funny! Hahaha. The dancing equivalent of man getting hit by football.
- Brian Gilligan (Singer) - Brian is an established West End singer, he hit the standard dead-relative and "for my kids" tropes early on, which, while sad - don't really have a whole lot of relevance. Obviously as a professional, he'll sing well, I just hope that the audience don't bite.
- Dave & Finn (Dog Act / Magic) - A pre-recorded sob story with a basic magic trick attached. This act will be immune to judges criticism, never underestimate the UK's love for dogs and it's support for public servants. Of the acts in this semifinal, Dave & Finn lead in the social media statistics, easily beating Flakefleet Primary School. We're not sure where the act goes from here after the sob story was revealed but it stands an excellent chance of qualification all the same.
- Flakefleet Primary School (School Choir / Dancing) - The current market leaders, with so many people to get on and off the stage, as well as the mess that the act will create on stage, it's likely that Flakefleet will be performing last in the running order. If not, it'll certainly be before an ad break (that's not saying much, there are ads every 5 minutes on BGT). Flakefleet have a history of self-promotion so it's almost certain to progress.
- The Haunting (Magic) - Elizabeth's act was very cheesy but it did at least create a moment. She also received respectable social media scores. However, no matter how good the trick is, instead of raucous applause, it's likely to receive a stunned silence followed by polite applause. These sorts of acts also tend to be eviscerated and revealed on Twitter too.
- Khronos Girls (Dancing) - Dance troupe that at least understood they needed some kind of unique angle. Unfortunately it's all terribly forced, nothing particularly new to see here.
- Rosie & Adam (Rollerskating) - The only act this evening that requires real technical skill. Their audition was a 'Dancing On Ice' routine on rollerskates. This duo probably deserve to progress but even a slight slip from one of the contestants will throw this act of of the window in the audience's mind.
- Tony Rudd (Impressionist) - Another impressionist who begins each impression with "Hello, I'm ...". Uses household items to create his characters. You'd ask for a refund if he performed at your child's birthday party.
Our Prediction: Flakefleet win. Dave & Finn / Rosie & Adam judges choice.
Semi Final 2:
- 4MG (Magic) - "Boyband of magic". Their audition was 4 different forms of sleight of hand. Like other magicians they speak in a stupid 'mysterious' way throughout their act. They'll need to up their game for the semis, audiences enjoy but don't get excited by card tricks unless you have war veterans or police dogs involved. If they weren't good-looking young men then nobody would care.
- Faith Tucker (Singer) - Initially presented as a bit of a joke, Faith is an established singer with plenty of experience, unlike other acts that simply try to imitate opera. BGT audiences seem to like male operatic singers but have lukewarm reactions to female ones. With the exception of inspirational songs, opera can make the audience feel rather disconnected. But on quality alone, this may qualify.
- Giorgia Borg (Singer) - She may have got a golden buzzer but Twitter reaction to her audition was overwhemlingly negative with many expressing the opinion that the golden buzzer was undeserved. I agree, she sang pretty badly and if she repeats that tonight, she won't stand a chance of progressing.
- Matt Stirling (Magic) - Compared to 4MG, Matt's magic was more entertaining, had some magic as well as a twist - his comedy background also meant he gave Simon a good zinger with the "Shrek?" quip. Matt is an experienced performer, what I've seen on YouTube is pretty rubbish but I imagine he'll bring out some of his better content for the semis.
- Siobhan Phillips (Comedy) - About as funny as a repeated boot to the plums so once again, expect forced laughter. A comparable act could be last year's Robert White, whose humour was far more edgy (Siobhan's audition song was about having kids). Robert's audition went under the radar too though until the semis and he succeeded because he perfectly hit the line between funny and crude, I'm not sure Siobhan will do the same.
- State Of The Fart (Hand-Farting) - This guy has a YouTube channel with dozens of videos of him doing hand farts to various songs. It's actually quite impressive how dedicated he is to something so ridiculous. Unfortunately on the BGT stage he's likely to just look like a random nutter.
- The Queen (Comedy) - In the audition, you'd think by the sycophantic forced laughter that the real queen had told those terrible jokes. Had it not been for the outfit, this act would have been on the chopping block where it belongs.
- Vardanyan Brothers (Gymnastics / Danger) - The act that actually requires skill and dedication. The question is whether or not they have enough content in their act to keep audiences entertained for 3 minutes. Furthermore, neither brother speaks English. Danger is also a dodgy category as people appreciate the risk, but are tense watching it and don't want to go through it again. Knife-throwing suffers the same issue.
Our Prediction: Very hard to predict tonight's as a lot rests on the performances themselves. A good chance for a big-priced winner to come in. Wouldn't recommend betting anything other than in-running. I'll go with Matt Stirling to win. Faith and Vardanyan Brothers judges choice.
Semi Final 3:
- Angels Inc (Magic) - Like magic? Like tits? Good. Their act is actually pretty slick compared to some of the other acts that pass for magic on BGT. However, again, it's nothing we've not seen before (e.g Magus Utopia) and the sexually aggressive dancing hinders rather than helps their chances.
- Chapter 13 (Boyband) - More ex-School Of Rock kids who outgrew their roles trying their hand at BGT. To be fair, their audition wasn't bad though I felt the lead vocal was a bit ropey a times. Ultimately, it's a boyband, I wonder how excited the audience can get about this.
- Colin Thackery (Singing) - A difficult one because it's all about how they stage this, Colin's singing won't set the world on fire but what he represents is a powerful vote-winner. Imagery of the war, veterans appearing at the crescendo, an emotional song - this will stir up the patriot vote. We have Richard Jones as an example of this, but we also have the D Day Darlings as an example where it didn't work. If Colin is just left alone on stage singing a song, it won't do so well. We suspect BGT are aware they need some variety for the final and may push Colin to qualify.
- Gomonov Knife Show (Knife-Throwing) - Watching these sorts of act simply isn't fun, it's stressful. We've already seen multiple knife-throwing acts in the past taking it to all sorts of extremes and they never progress.
- John Archer (Magic) - This is one act I've had my eye on, John has appeared on multiple shows and his tricks blend magic and comedy. I feel he could potentially be funnier than Kojo as well as provide a decent trick. It all depends though as he has some good stuff and some mediocre stuff in his repetoire. BGT may also feel they have enough magic in the final by this point and deramp him.
- KNE (Dancing / Singing) - Nothing to see here. Usual 'street dance' rubbish with a hint of not-great singing thrown in.
- Kojo Anim (Comedy) - A mediocre comedian at best, but when you're fed a diet of bad impressionists and hand-farters, 'mediocre' is like a breath of fresh air. Much of the laughter from Kojo's comedy came from his delivery rather than the jokes themselves. Kojo's audition social media stats did very little in the early timescales but then went parabolic a few hours after, not sure what happened there.
- Rob King (Singing) - One of many solo male singers this year, this one lacks a sob story, no dead/paralysed brother to be found. For that reason alone, he gets an official TellyStats pat on the back. Aside from that, fairly average singer, not much chance of qualification.
Our Prediction: Opposing Chapter 13 for the win can land you some big money and I'll take that chance. I'll go with Colin Thackery to win. Chapter 13 and Kojo judges choice.
Semi Final 4:
- Ben Hart (Magic) - Isn't everyone a little sick of magic now? Ben is yet another magician who speaks in a 'mysterious' way, but to make it worse, his audition featured the world's worst actress as his audience stooge. The thing with the egg was alright though as ever, it just involved slieght of hand at the end. The point is that if Ben's magic is at the same level as his audition, he's in trouble. He's 2/1 in the heat betting, I think he'll drift.
- Duo A&J (Aerial Acrobatics) - I class this act as in the same category as Rosie and Adam, in the sense that it does take skill and dedication - but it just might not be enough to hold the viewer's attention for 3 minutes.
- Graeme Mathews (Magic) - A children's entertainer by profession, Graeme brings his act for children to the BGT stage. I feel he's a less-good John Archer, but this a weaker semi - however one problem we've had this series is magicians doing long, drawn out tricks whereas the nature of Graeme's work is to keep it simple and make people laugh. I don't believe he wins but feel his odds are too big for qualification.
- Iconic (Dancing) - As far as dance groups go, this one actually has a fun twist, it's a weaker Flakefleet basically.
- Jimmy Tamley (Ventriloquism) - Jimmy effectively does an act that America's Got Talent winner Paul Zerdin did better. David Walliams stole the show in the audition though, if Jimmy can hit the same levels in the live show he should still be in with a chance of qualification.
- Kerr James (Singer) - It's a kid, singing. His biggest talent is that he does an amazing impression of a 1l bottle of skimmed milk. Move along.
- Mark McMullan (Singing) - As well as the torture of locked-in syndrome, Mark's brother has to listen to him exploit his situation for sympathy on a talent show. Mark isn't especially talented but I suspect Mark's song will be interspersed with cuts of his brother. My head says that Mark will probably win tonight, but my heart says he's probably worth opposing.
- Ursula Burns (Harp F*cking) - Surely an act only put through so that at least one act will be fully buzzed off by the judges.
Our Prediction: I want to say Graeme wins but I'll not put too much faith in the British public and instead guess that Mark wins tonight. Graeme and Jimmy as judges choice.
Semi Final 5:
- Barbara Nice (Comedy) - Were the audition jokes supposed to be genuinely funny, or funny because they were so bad? I guess if Siobhan Phillips can progress in a weak semi then so can Barbara, particularly as her act is a little more polished.
- Fabulous Sisters (Dancing) - Synconised jerky movements, see it once, see it a million times.
- Gonzo (Tambourine) - Will this be the act the judges finally buzz off? Gonzo has proven not to have anything groundbreaking for new material in other shows, nothing to see here.
- Jacob Jones (Singing) - Apparently, Jacob's biggest talent is proposing to his girlfriend, he's blown his load now and all that's left is a fairly mediocre singer.
- Jonathan Goodwin (Danger) - Jonathan had a strong audition and looking at his bio - he's probably too good for the show. As with many of these dangerous acts, it's through-your-fingers entertainment that is often more stressful than entertaining to watch. Also, whether they're battling fire or water, the majority of these acts are spent watching a person struggle to escape whatever situation they're in and not much else. Jonathan is currently the short-priced favourite to win the semi and despite his skill and talent, I feel he's very opposable.
- Leanne Mya (Singing) - The last of the contestants exploiting a terrible situation through the medium of televised talent contests. Leanne is a Grenfell survivor, her singing is nothing to shout about, however, as with many acts - the act is secondary to the message. If there is imagery of the tower, she's backed up by other survivors, Leanne could progress.
- Libby & Charlie (Dancing) - It's telling that these two weren't originally in the semis until The Brotherhood pulled out. Child dancers, and indeed adult dancers don't tend to do well on BGT, they'll do a nice dance, people will clap, the judges will say it was beautiful, nobody will vote.
- X (Magic) - The audition wasn't bad, using some fairly expensive kit to create the illusions, such as a mentalism chair. With the abundance of magic in the final, X is already at a disadvantage, as well as the mask creating an emotional disconnect from the audience. I forsee an early slot in the running order and an early exit from the show.
Our Prediction: Leanne Mya looks the most likely winner on paper so I'll go with her, Barbara Nice and Jonathan Goodwin as judges choice.