I have watched most of Britain's Got Talent this week and with the exception of one or two acts the "talent" has been very thin on the ground. Of the judges, only Simon Cowell has had the bottle to tell contestants the truth - most of them are rubbish. And even he has had to choose his words carefully at times, although the meaning has been fairly clear.
Last night we saw a dreadful example of parent power as 10-year-old Hollie Steel's mother pleaded with the judges to allow her daughter to sing again after she burst into tears during her performance.
Presenters Ant and Dec were obviously mortified by the whole experience, although it was compelling television. Dec, in particular, was clearly thinking, "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!". Again, it was Cowell who got a grip on proceedings but I think he was wrong to offer Hollie a second go, because it appeared to be in direct response to her bursting into tears again when Ant told her there wasn't time. And did I detect a small stamp of her foot as well as she buried her face in Dec's stomach? (Violet Elizabeth Bott, anyone?)
I thought she did well to recover from her first attack of stage fright, but when she froze for a second time that should have been it. The judges should have said hard luck and well done and judged her on that performance. No matter how old you are you shouldn't be rewarded for bursting into tears and stamping your foot.
I'm no fan of Susan Boyle either so the winner HAS to be the father and son combo otherwise known as Stavros Flatley. Click HERE to see their original audition. What a marvellous moment that would be should they win.
Update: I have just read a quote by Hollie Steel's mother in the Weekend section of the Daily Mail. It must date back several days at least (ie before last night's performance) and I think it's quite revealing:
"She's a sensitive little child. She has to have a bit of encouragement before she thinks she's good ... And since she's been on the show, things have got better at school. She'd been having problems with a couple of girls, but when the newspapers discovered she'd been bullied, the kids back-pedalled. They don't dare bully her now that she's been in the newspapers. She's having brilliant fun and we want her to get some sort of record deal and release an album. She's never get a break like this again."
Never get a break like this again? No wonder the child feels under pressure.
Sorry, Stavros, you were rubbish tonight. The best act was Diversity.