Sunday, June 01, 2008

George Sampson - The gentle rain that falls from heaven

I don't know which surprised me more: that the final of Britain's Got Talent (ITV, last night) had only one duff act or that the public vote chose the same three top acts as myself and had them in the same order.

For the past few days I'd had a gut feeling that George Sampson would win.
I'd seen the number of viewings of his videos on YouTube soar into the millions. And when the competition is so close, the likeability factor can be decisive. Also, the public may have felt it was time that someone other than a singer won one of these shows.
Then there was the 'backstory'. A young boy busking on the streets of Manchester because his single mother couldn't afford the £15 an hour for dance lessons, then getting kicked out of last year's show and coming back with a steely determination to win.

And without detracting in any way from his extraordinary talent, one has to acknowledge the importance of the gallons of warm, stage rain that the boys up in the flies poured down on George's head.
It's reassuring that, in an age of blue screens and CGI, we could still be blown away by the spectacle of someone dancing in a shower of water.
(I should explain for anyone who didn't see it that this was a funked-up remix of Gene Kelly's Singing in the Rain).

Can you imagine the Health and Safety audits that are going on in theatres all over Britain as the finalists prepare for their nationwide tour? Pouring gallons of water on to a stage covered with electrical equipment is a risky business. And when last night George did his final performance, there was a tense moment when it looked as though it might not rain and that the stage crew had forgotten to re-fill the tank. As someone said afterwards, you can never trust the English weather.

I think George will be stuck with this routine for years to come, just as Tony Bennett could never perform without leaving his heart in San Francisco. But nobody will tire of seeing something so inspiring and joyful, just as nobody will ever forget the extraordinary impact of that first performance in the semi-final.
And it probably will have boosted the career of Mint Royale (also from Manchester) who did the remix of Singing in the Rain.

I wonder how many people are going to download it and give it a go in their shower at home?
I'm very tempted myself.
So if I don't blog for a while, it will be because the back-flip went wrong and I've broken my fucking arm.

Link to George's semi-final performance on YouTube:


At 12:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol i think any non dancers should probably leave the back flips out but i'm definitely glad he won. i know what you mean about the final three, it was my gut feeling as well. but definitely not what people expected.

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Well, anon, you and I knew better than either the bookies or Simon Cowell. Lol.
Maybe we should start a talent agency.

At 4:12 PM, Blogger cello said...

Yep, I loved George. But I would have put him second after Signature. In fact, I want to see the three of them dance together. Would probably have put the posh birds with violins in third place. Or the dog...

The 2 'angelic' singers were absolutely not my cup of tea, but I suspect they split the vote, or we might have seen Andrew Johnstone walk away with it. I am not an uncritical fan of Kathryn Flett but she wrote one line about poor bullied Andrew which made me laugh out loud, much to my shame: " voice of an angel, face of the undead".

Apologies for being way out of date, Willie, but I've only just caught up my backlog of telly after a week in Rome. What about The Apprectice then?

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

cello: strangely enough, I was thinking of you today because I had a day of gardening.

You're full of surprises: I thought you would have gone for one of the singers.
Had George not done Singing in the Rain, I would have put Signature first. Pity they couldn't have been joint winners.
Have you seen the YouTube vid someone's done of George and Gene Kelly dancing together? It's brilliant. Must put a link in my next posting.

Have never watched The Apprentice, hence my silence on that subject.


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