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Top 10 Britain's Got Talent Scandals

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
There’s a lot more than just talent going around. Welcome to WatchMojoUK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 “Britain’s Got Talent” controversies. For this list, we’re only looking at scandals to do with the main show, and not those relating to “Britain’s Got More Talent” – like David Walliams implying that Simon and Amanda Holden had an affair. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Britain’s Got Talent Controversies


There’s a lot more than just talent going around. Welcome to WatchMojoUK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 “Britain’s Got Talent” controversies.

For this list, we’re only looking at scandals to do with the main show, and not those relating to “Britain’s Got More Talent” – like David Walliams implying that Simon and Amanda Holden had an affair.

#10: Susan Boyle

She’s undoubtedly the biggest star to ever come out of “Britain’s Got Talent,” but there were reports circulating at the time that SuBo was struggling with her sudden rise to fame. These included claims that her behaviour was becoming “erratic,” and immediately after the show’s final, she checked herself into a clinic for “exhaustion.” This brought the show’s care of its contestants into question, and the wellbeing of reality TV stars in general, as producers were accused of not doing their due diligence when it came to managing her. Luckily, she recovered after a few days’ respite.

#9: Alice Fredenham

This beauty therapist’s stint on the show in 2013 kicked off with a disastrous live audition. Apparently breaking down under pressure, Fredenham almost didn’t perform at all – only to be given a shock second chance and extra time by Simon Cowell. When she finally started to sing, audiences were wowed by her sultry vocals. A week later she debuted on rival talent show “The Voice”, without any of her previous stage-fright. Her performance left audiences wondering whether her nerves of “BGT” were all part of the show, but many were also disappointed at “The Voice” coaches’ dismissive reactions.

#8: Paddy & Nico

A certain degree of amateurism is expected from TV talent shows, which are famed for giving previously undiscovered performers their big break. Initially, audiences loved the duo of 79-year-old Paddy & 39-year-old Nico, the salsa-dancing granny proving a big hit. But it came to light that Paddy had previously won “Tu Si Que Vales”, a Spanish TV talent show, five years earlier. The public weren’t happy, accusing Paddy and Nico of being frauds and slamming the show for allowing “professionals” into the mix. Paddy denied being a pro, however, and they ultimately placed ninth.

#7: BGT App

In an effort to streamline the tried-and-true voting method of calling in or texting, ITV released the “Britain’s Got Talent” voting app during the 2012 series. But the app launch was disastrous. People first had to pay £1.49 to get the app and a bundle of three votes, but then the app didn’t even work. 51% of the votes submitted didn’t go through, and it had to be ditched after the first live show. Even worse, it got the channel in big trouble with Ofcom, who severely reprimanded ITV. On the bright side, at least they issued refunds.

#6: Beatrix von Bourbon

While it’s not uncommon to see nudity or other risqué content on British telly, the 9pm watershed is there for a reason. Unfortunately for “Britain’s Got Talent”, it aired beforehand and featured the now-infamous Beatrix von Bourbon, a burlesque dancer. During her performance she stripped down to a gold thong and nipple tassels, and despite ITV’s best efforts at censorship, Ofcom still received plenty of complaints from concerned parties. Ironically, Beatrix ended up knocked out of the contest after toning down her act, which viewers then complained was “boring” and “not sexy.”

#5: Attraction

One of the show’s most controversial winners were the talented shadow puppet group Attraction. Nobody was in denial about how skilled they were and, on performance alone, more than worthy of winning. There was just one thing the public took issue with: they’re from Hungary. Since the show is called “Britain’s Got Talent”, the decision to let them compete was brought into question. Simon Cowell later hit back at critics, however, saying that it’s a testament to the show’s popularity that people from around the world come here to compete.

#4: Kit-Kat Dolls

Back in 2007 the show weathered an enormous scandal when the day jobs of drag act the Kit-Kat Dolls came to light. It turned out that three out of the nine members of this troupe of drag queens worked as escorts, thereby ruining the show’s “family friendly” tone and seriously infuriating Simon Cowell. They were immediately kicked off by bosses, but it wasn’t the last we’d see of them. In 2014, ex-Kit-Kat Doll La Voix re-auditioned for the show, saying there was nothing to stop her from re-entering with a new act.

#3: Jessica Hobson

Simon has a reputation for being the nasty judge for a reason, and his shows have no shortage of crying. However, there was something different when pianist Jessica Hobson took to the stage to perform Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” She started off well, seated at the piano, but struck a bum note when she got up to do an unpolished dance routine. Cowell criticised this, reducing her to tears, but before her microphone was cut, she claimed that the producers had told her what to sing and organised the dance. Unhappy audiences thought Jessica had been set up to fail.

#2: Cowell Egged

In the dramatic seventh series live finale, violinist Natalie Holt got to live out a dream that more than one musician has probably fantasized about. Not winning “BGT”, but rather pelting Simon Cowell with eggs. Holt did the stunt to protest people miming on television and Cowell’s influence on the music industry, after having done a stint with her band “Raven Quartet” the previous year. She even got the chance to write an opinion piece for The Guardian about the motivations – as well as apologising to Richard & Adam, the singers whose act she interrupted.

#1: Dog Double

Everybody loves seeing dogs on talent shows, but there was something fishy about trainer Jules O’Dwyer and her loveable dog Matisse’s series-winning performance. When Jules talked to Lorraine Kelly the next day, she ended up revealing that Matisse is scared of heights, so her other dog, Chase, had taken over and walked across a dangerous tightrope. The backlash was so bad it got the attention of Ofcom, who found the show guilty of violating broadcast regulations by “misleading viewers”. The stars got to keep the £250,000 prize though, which just goes to show - every dog really does have its day.
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