Sofabet pundit Tim Booth takes a look at tonight's first BGT semi-final.
Let’s start with who we can immediately rule out. Richard Bayton is a camp figure of fun who will be vying for last place, and is likely to get buzzed by Simon tonight. American danger act Ben Blaque offers variety but doesn’t have the type of act which tends to attract many public votes. Total TXS are a dance act who got montaged during the audition process, which doesn’t bode well for their chances of making the final. Also likely to struggle in the vote tonight are mum-and-son singing duo Mel and Jamie. In the context of this semi-final, they don’t stand out as talented enough against the bigger voices on offer. They will likely get treated kindly tonight to give people the idea that their ‘journey’ has been completed just by singing on the big stage together.
The next five acts offer varying degrees of diversity and would each bring something different to Saturday’s final. Impressionist Darren Altman is best remembered from his take on Jeremy Clarkson during the audition process. He won’t be winning tonight’s semi, but could be in contention of getting the second qualification spot if the judges have decided to push him. But his act will have to impress in order to attract the votes.
Open a Coral account and when you bet £5, get £20!
Ystrad Fawr Dancers are one of three acts vying for the Welsh vote tonight. This talented dance troupe are just the type of thing that the viewers tend to go for. Despite splitting the Welsh vote, it’s possible they could go through to the final as they are talented and similar to many acts who have made it in the past. They look quite a tempting price to qualify tonight.
Similarly, Spartan Resurrection are a male gymnastics group whose shirtless act is likely to hoover up plenty of free app votes. With not being a typical dance act, they would offer variety for the final, and don’t forget that similar group Spelbound won the whole competition back in 2010.
Alesha’s ‘golden buzzer’ act this year is the choir 100 Voices of Gospel, who impressed during their audition. They offer something slightly different from the traditional gospel choir, as they also incorporate dancing into their act. But it’s worth pointing out that this is largely a foreign choir with only one or two British members. Large choirs such as these can also tend to struggle with emotional connection. Despite this, they would offer an uplifting climax to the show and therefore may be in contention of closing the show tonight. If so, I wouldn’t rule them out from taking the semi wim.
The act from tonight’s semi-final with the best edit thus far has been Welsh singer Kathleen Jenkins. She is a Welsh ‘everywoman’ type of singer who has waited her whole life for this opportunity. Arguably, her age and backstory make her perfect for the voting demographic. She wowed during the auditions with a powerful rendition of the Susan Boyle version of ‘Wild Horses’. Kathleen is the act likeliest to make the biggest emotional connection with the audience tonight.
I fully expect her to be singing a big ballad, with great staging, from late in the running order. The styling and make up teams will be looking to transform her from ordinary woman into a star, which is what this show is all about. She looks fairly certain to win tonight’s semi-final, and even looks likely to be a worth a small each way investment in the outright. This is because the winner of the first semi tends to be someone the producers intend to do well in the final.