Why Simon Cowell should stop editing Britain’s Got Talent and moving to 20:30 is a bad idea

This post was written by guest blogger and reality TV showbiz observer Daniel Cohen. Catch up with him on Twitter here.

This year the media and (new) fans of Britain’s Got Talent all cheered the new look of episode 1 of the ITV series. From Ant and Dec’s flash mob to the bitching bromance of Cowell and Walliams, from the Welsh boy choir to the Sugar Dandies to the opera duo it was a big success.

Britain’s Got Talent won to the tune of 12 million viewers, many of who praised the fresh new look and said that BGT felt like a whole new show.

Did Simon Cowell listen to this praise? No sir he did not, all he cared about was the 20 minute clash with The Voice and the viewers that did not tune in then. Not thinking about the fact that these viewers were watching on catch up, or on delay Simon thought he had to change the format to get them watching from the start.

Very odd move: if people were watching both BGT and The Voice and watched BGT on delay, why would changing the format change that? How would they know they had to turn over because the format had changed especially for them? They were not watching, they planned to do so later.

Simon could have spared himself the trouble. He took out what people loved about the first episode and most people were disappointed with the changes of episodes 2 and 3. Even I, a big fan of the show, felt the heart and fun that had made the first episode so enjoyable had gotten lost in the follow up installments.

Instead of the sparkle and fun of the first episode Simon opted for bizarre filler moments of strange people in the holding room babbling scripted stuff about the judges. Not funny and it took up the time of the contestants performances.

Simon also seemed to think that people wanted to see more of him and filled the last two shows with endless close ups of his botoxed face trying to show surprise, rolling his eyes or sighing with boredom. This too was dull and took up too much time, we had seen this all before.

Where were the moments we were waiting for? The judges interacting with the contestants? The excitement? David and Simon’s bromance was cut short. David even commented on this himself.

Having been at the show’s auditions, I am stunned that Simon opted for this strange watered down editing.

This series could have been amazing: the moments that David Walliams stormed on stage to dance or perform with the contestants, could have made the show unique.

No judge has ever done this before. The same for Alesha Dixon who assisted a magician with his act. The proposals to both Alesha and Simon by audience members. And that’s just from the top of my head. Backstage moments could have been the banter between David and Alesha, when David was posing to the audience. David was entertaining non stop for 8 hours and we get to see barely any of this. Also: we barely see Ant and Dec talking to the contestants because of the babbling strange people filler. Wrong again Simon.

Now where the contestants are concerned: what the hell were you thinking Simon? There have been amazing contestants doing things other then singing and dancing, yet you show us non stop singing with one or two other acts. Why? This is Britain’s Got Talent, not X Factor. This too annoyed the audience.
To use one of Simon’s own comparisons: it’s as if he served us delicious chips in episode 1, moved to boiled potato’s in the next then came up with watery mashed potato’s in the third.

Many fans say that they now prefer Stephen Mulhern’s More Talent to the big ITV1 show these days.

I do too, this show now has the feel of fun and jokes that the big show used too have. Many of the funny moments that could have been the highlight of the ITV1 show (“Mysterious Girl” anyone,) are buried on BGT’s little sister.

Also, moving to 20:30 now is a bad, bad move. Despite the editing problems, the audience that tunes in from the start has actually grown. Episode 1 started with 5 million viewers that tuned in from the start and this has risen to 6 now. What if these steady faithful starting viewers now have to opt out halfway through the show because it doesn’t fit in their viewing pattern anymore? Is it wise to confuse 6 million people just to hark in 4 million others? ITV and Simon are clearly fed up with the media saying that The Voice has won in the ratings, when in the end BGT got more viewers when the +1 audience was added. They should have stuck to their guns and finished the last few weeks at 20:00.

As for next year: start a week before The Voice – as you should have done this year to get momentum going. Advertise for comedians and other variety acts to audition, give David Walliams and Ant and Dec free reign and lose the emphasis on singers.

Britain’s Got Talent is a great show, so stop ruining it with the editing!!


Lisa McGarry

Lisa has been watching reality TV for too long now. She won't do any housework unless 'Big Brother' announces it over the tannoy and everything she does has to be put to a public vote!