Our Saturday nights are just not the same without Britain's Got Talent! 2019 saw another host of superb memorable auditions.
In recent years, talent shows have a trend to do a lot of swapping when it comes to their frontmen and judges. Though BGT so far has thankfully scrapped that trend - with judges Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon, Simon Cowell and David Walliams all back - whilst it was nice to see Ant rejoin Dec to host the series. I personally love the continuity.
Arguably though the thing which makes us come back each year, is the amazing variety. You could be watching a choirboy; then the next performer is a daredevil. This variety is what makes BGT so addictive and viewing figures are up too. The auditions debuted with a peak audience of 9.7 million - that made it the most watched show of the year (so far).
I've re-watched every episode and now will suggest the top audition from each episode. Do you agree with me?
Audition 1 - The Haunting
Odd, spooky and terrifying! Three words which perfectly sum up the debut of Elizabeth Best.
She began the act by suggesting the London Palladium theatre was haunted, before telling the audience she was going to make the impossible possible. Amanda was taken backstage - Elizabeth scared her, the judges and probably you aswell! The act involved choosing the photo of a dead person - before that dead person's name appeared on the wall and Elizabeth somehow assumed her identity.
The public failed to back her in the Semi-Final after Elizabeth's live performance was overshadowed by some poor camera work. Though she did finish 2nd/3rd, so it was up to the judges to decide - meaning I was left shocked and annoyed after the judges sent Elizabeth home for Flakefleet Primary School. Shocking decision.
Elizabeth had already announced tour dates in Blackpool (28 June to 1 September), where she teams up with Craig Christian in The Evolution of Magic.
Audition 2 - X
We would love to say we guessed who was behind the mask - but we didn't have a clue. Did you?
His first appearance confused everyone! He managed to make Ant and Dec feel touches at the same time and draw the exact same image with their eyes closed. To be honest, X just brought a mysterious edge to the auditions which we generally lack. The two main questions were - who was he and how did he do the psychic tricks? Ultimately the audience were left in awe and wanting more, as was I!
X went onto win his Semi-Final outright, before finishing Runner Up in the entire competition! During his final performance, X was revealed to be Marc Spellman who got gold in 2018!
Spellman recently completed a few performances of Real Magic. He has since teased that there are more shows planned and are taking place later this year.
Audition 3 - Akshat Singh
If you watch The Ellen Show, then Singh may have been recognisable! He first popped up on our screens in 2014 on India's Got Talent - before going onto Ellen the same year.
His audition was imaginative, fun and just enjoyable to watch! Still only 14, his amazing dance moves to Nicki Minaj's song Starship were exceptional. I think he was really-deserving of Ant & Dec's golden-buzzer.
Personally I didn't really understand his Semi-Final performance, it lacked the imagination that wowed me in the auditions. I was left feeling disappointed - with you also agreeing and not picking up the phone. Singh finished 7th (out of 8) in the ratings.
Watch out for Akshat Singh, he is clearly destined for big things.
Audition 4 - Matt Stirling
There were a few 'mind-readers' this year, but Stirling's original act definitely left its mark on me.
The 46-year-old was behind a memorable audition, which saw him predict what films the judges would pick. As each judge revealed their movie, Matt acted out scenes. It included a man set on fire, someone falling from a balcony and topless lads!
In the Semi-Finals, he asked judges to roll a dice and then asked the judges to reveal numbers. I thought he topped his original audition with funny comments and also an imaginative story about dangerous jobs which linked in with his stunts. Overall he finished 2nd/3rd, ultimately losing out to the talented and hilarious Siobhan Phillips in the judges vote.
Matt recently performed at the O2 alongside Hugh Jackman.
Audition 5 - Lil Icons
This is a simple idea, but something which really worked well! Lil Icons is a dance group including 30 dances between the 7 and 18 years of age. They are all from TDM Stage School who are based in Port Talbot.
As part of of their audition, they dressed up as various music icons both past and present. Celebrities they covered included Elton John, Freddie Mercury and Spice Girls. It reminded me of a few I had forgotten - it helped me and you remember icons who have contributed so much to music.
There Semi-Final was equally as impressive with icons such as Cher, Elton John and Elvis Presley appearing. It was such an energetic and fun display. Their performance was the first of the fourth live show - and I think that ultimately didn't help them with votes as they came 5th.
TDM have a history of bringing dance groups to BGT (Groove Thing, Nu Sxool, PreSkool etc) and doing well - so expect to see them again soon.
Audition 6 - Chapter 13
There has been a gaping hole in the boy band market ever since One Direction announced their hiatus - so could Chapter 13 be ready to fill that hole? They certainly have the potential to do so.
They caught the eye performing a medley of Stevie Wonders songs. The crowd got on their feet and Ant & Dec loved it! I wasn't surprised when Amanda hit the golden buzzer and expected them to rock the Semi-Finals.
I did enjoy their own song Own This Town in the Semi-Finals, but I felt they should have performed this in the audition. The Semi-Finals are about the public vote, and to perform an original track is very risky and proved to be their undoing. They came 4th, with BGT winner Colin Thackery taking 1st in their heat. I feel Chapter 13's biggest mistake though is appearing on BGT and not X Factor. The latter would have given them a ton of shows to get a following, including 9 live shows (if they got that far).
Chapter 13 have a gig planned in London this month and have been uploading songs to YouTube. It's a case of watch this space - as they could be massive, especially if Simon Cowell gets involved.
Audition 7 - Mind2Mind
Milton Keynes couple James and Marina were entertaining. Of course, we all know that there has to be some sort of trick behind it - but that doesn't mean it wasn't a fantastic audition.
Their audition saw Marina be blindfolded, before James asked Amanda to produce random items from her personal handbag. Despite not being able to see, Marina correctly named the items. They then asked Simon Cowell to close his eyes whilst Amanda chose a country - Simon correctly suggested it was Italy she was thinking about.
Mind2Mind are the only act on our list not to make it into the Semi Finals. It really does sum up the talent of magicians in this year's contest - which included 4MG, Angels Inc, Ben Hart, Dave & Finn, Graeme Matthews, John Archer, Matt Stirling, The Haunting and X.
The duo have since been on Radio 1 and performed at The Magic Circle.
Audition 8 - John Archer
How could you not like John? The former police officer has been on many TV magic shows and supported fellow comedian Tim Vine on tour.
His experience showed in a faultless audition which made me laugh out loud. He invited David Walliams to pick a random drink from cards and showed the audience that orange was in the bag. When David picked cola unexpectedly, the funnyman managed to bring cola out of the bag and then folded it up. Where had the orange gone?
Archer then impressed with a funny routine about a lottery ticket in the Semi's. He let the judges pick out numbers, before Ant & Dec read out his predictions. They were all wrong (apart from one) - but it turned out that his actual prediction was in his wallet hidden away! It was another superb performance and one which made me howl with laughter. After finishing 2nd/3rd, he just missed out on a Final place by the judges vote (the third person on my list to do so, how annoying!!).
He recently teased an upcoming tour but nothing has been announced yet.