Three Out Of The Four Confirmed Finalists Of BGT Are Magicians
Last night saw the 2nd semi-final of Britain’s Got Talent 2017 and following 2 successful years for magic acts, it’s no surprise there were a lot more auditioning this year than normal, or at least more of a high (or embarrassingly low) enough standard to make the cut for TV. Three of these magic acts have now successfully made it through to the live grand final of the show which will be aired on Sunday.
I used to love BGT and watch it religiously but despite being asked a lot to audition, I always decided it wasn’t for me as I had some inside experience of how fickle the selection process and portrayal of acts could be regardless of their abilities. I’m not knocking this approach as it’s done in order to champion ‘favoured’ acts or those with a better background sob story which obviously makes for better telly and higher viewing figures, something the “Got Talent” franchise certainly doesn’t need tips on from me.
Back to the magic acts this year; Matt Edwards, Issy Simpson and DNA are all through to the Britains Got Talent 2017 Grand Final on Sunday and no, they’re not in that order for any reason as I find it pretty difficult to call. I don’t have a bad word to say about any of them and I’m glad they’re up there representing the magic community. The less we say about the dutch guy that got booted out on Monday night the better, he wasn’t really a magician, just a guy operating some pretty poorly constructed props in a poorly choreographed, small scale illusion routine; “Head Twister, YEAH!!!!” . . . “errm, NO!”.
Briefly, Matt has a pretty unique style when it comes to comedy magic, many describe him as a kind of mix between Lee Evans and Joe Pasquale with some hilarious Morecambe & Wise/Tommy Cooper old school gags thrown in. But he backs it up with solid magic skills, getting a technically impressive and memorable 5 minute performance out of a salt pour routine in his audition which perfectly demonstrated his style and absolutely unique personality. I wouldn’t have dreamt of performing a bounce/no-bounce ball routine or his hug/kill effect for the semi-finals but his chaotic presentation was bang on and there wasn’t a hint of any of the ‘moves’ he (may or may not have) needed to do. Expertly delivered and such an individual act.
Issy next, the granddaughter of one of my idols growing up, Russ Stevens who was based in Blackpool, just down the road from me and was the star of the Mystique show at Blackpool Pleasure Beach for many years. Firstly, I thought she did a great job and despite some negative comments from “magicians” on Facebook forums & in the media (well done to the idiot who wrote a full expose of her audition for one of the rags, really supporting the creatives and the art in general there, plank!) there are a fair few tricky bits in her routines she has to pull off. She executed these perfectly in her audition and in the live show last night.
If I’d have been routining this for an 8 year old, I wouldn’t have had the balls to have put at least 2 of the bits in the live show so confidence in her ability here is massively evident. Her patter is clearly very well rehearsed but she delivers it with conviction and is something that I think we will see grow as she relaxes into her performance more and gains experience. She’s 8, do you remember the first Harry Potter movie? The spoons in my kitchen draw are less wooden than Radcliffe, Grint & Watson in that but look at them now. Sticking with that analogy, JK Rowling wrote it and isn’t in it but that doesn’t stop it being an awesome movie and part of one of the most successful book/film franchises ever. Why are magicians banging on about Issy being helped by her Grandad? I bet the majority of them have used the line “My grandad was a magician and taught me this trick”, nothing more than sour grapes in my opinion, rant over.
Overall, well impressed with what Issy & Russ have put together with this act, mixing grand illusions with mentalism is never easy but the act on Monday was a great story and it was delivered/executed really well by and 8 year old that’s going to do really well in magic. Loved the VT of her tricks at school too.
In all honesty I missed their audition but saw the highlights prior to their set on the semi-final, very solid mentalism from these boys and very well routined. I’ve not heard of the double act before, hence why I wasn’t looking out for them coming up on auditions but they did a great job and had really good stage presence and presentation skills. Again, we have some idiots in our ranks that have bashed out exposure videos on their act straight away, purely for no other reason than self gratification or an attempt to increase their own status some how, when will they learn that people want to just enjoy the magic, they don’t want to know the mechanics of it. It was quite amusing though as one of the “exposure” vids by a self proclaimed “expert” was completely incorrect. Anyway, again, they did a grand job on Monday, their methods were hidden very well both in the routining and in the presentation on the night. Pretty much reversing a classic book test is a great way to do it and makes much more sense to me as the spectator really can use any word, liked it. They even handled the unforeseeable Mr. Cowell not having his glasses scenario very well which must have been pretty nerve wracking, well done fellas.
That’s it really, we’ve got Josephine Lee, a female illusionist who was impressive at auditions, still to come so there may even be 4 magicians in the finals yet. There’s Ryan Tracey too who did balloon modelling in his audition so not sure what he’s got planned for his next set but may be magic related, let’s see. If all 4 magicians are in the grand final, it’ll be a tough one as they’re all very strong at what they do and display 4 very different areas of magic, I’m hoping this does something to contribute towards converting the public perception that every magic style is the same and show that there are in fact some very different sub-genres within our art.
I’d be interested to hear your opinions on the magic acts this year, whether you’re a magician or not so feel free to pop them in the comments below.
31st May 2017