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News Commentary: Credit the Band but not MPs

Credit the boys

Image - SYCO/Thames

TV talent shows can do a number of things; the obvious is giving somebody a chance to make it big and there any number of winners, runners-up and even those who never quite got that far, who have indeed gone on to greater things. Olly Murs never won The X Factor but there is no doubt he is an entertaining singer with a decent voice. He is only one example but showbiz is notoriously fickle and even a talent show winner can plunge rapidly back into obscurity after their brief time in the spotlight.

The X Factor does have its critics and so does Britain’s Got Talent, or BGT as it is often known these days. One of the criticisms levelled at it (and this applies to The Voice UK) is that it allows entry from people who are, or have, already starred somewhere else. It is of course, one thing to see somebody spend some time as a star before they fall off the cliff – there have been numerous examples, one being women who subsequently get married and have kids after a couple of years as performers. Then, away from the glare, spend time bringing up their children. Personally I don’t see too much wrong with giving somebody the chance to make a comeback. However, one criticism is that over people currently engaged as performers somewhere, and to a degree at least, successfully so, also appearing on BGT.

Saturday May 12, 2019, saw a band, Chapter 13 take to the stage in front of judges David Walliams, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell. Four teenage boys, one 14, the other three 15, were, to say the least, impressive. Actually, they were fabulous and it was no surprise that Amanda Holden hit her ‘Golden Buzzer’ to send them straight to the semi-final, thus without having to go through any further selection by the judges.

The four met while performing in the west end musical School of Rock and this has attracted social media criticism as being unfair since they are already performers, with some critics describing them as ‘professionals’. This they are not at 14 and 15. With my mother being a singer herself (she never ‘made it’ in the UK but was quite popular in Germany and, curiously perhaps, Australia for a while) and my father a broadcaster, I spent a fair portion of my time as a teenager in the company of a number of rather well-known people, big name bands included, being behind the scenes and watching concerts from the side of the stage instead of bouncing around in front of it – although I did do a bit of that too. I also learned how to play the drums, getting lessons from a very well-known drummer in an equally well-known rock group – fun times.

So it might probably be fair to say I know a little about show business. Not a lot, just a little but I will suggest that these four boys may well find their careers ending when their time in School of Rock ends (if it hasn’t already). The trade is full of youngsters who have appeared in films, on stage, done well and, er, that’s it.

Chapter 13’s accomplished performance on BGT is explained by their previous experience, but I see nothing wrong with them appearing on Britain’s Got Talent. Its very rare to find kids in their mid-teens who can play their instruments as well as they did (drums, bass guitar, rhythm and lead guitars, with one being a decent singer) and they do rather bring a true meaning to the term, ‘Boy band’.

I hope they make it. I also hope they realise how extraordinarily fortunate they are in having had firstly the benefit of their stage work and, even more importantly, parents who obviously have the means to give their sons the equipment needed to strut their stuff. I’m sure they do, so rather than be critical, let’s give them credit where it's due.