Britain’s Got Talent, Newcastle Arena

First published in Search The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

WOULD she or wouldn’t she? When she hadn’t appeared by the interval, it seemed likely she wouldn’t. But when Susan Boyle did emerge, to give what can only be described as a show-stopping performance, it was more than worth waiting for.

The Scottish singer, nicknamed SuBo, overcame the exhaustion that saw her admitted to the Priory and forced her to miss the Manchester leg of the Britain’s Got Talent tour, and she left her North-East audience on their feet, in raptures, some even moved to tears.

Performing two West End songs – Memory and I Dreamed A Dream, which has almost become her signature track – it was hard not to be stunned by her voice, which was more beautiful and powerful than I ever expected.

I’ve seen that audition a million times, but the television just does not do her justice. While Memory got off to a shaky start, the climax was fantastic.

Her second song was faultless.

SuBo, the show’s runnerup – who is, incidentally, the most Googled person on the planet – utterly eclipsed the winning act, dance troupe Diversity. Chants of “Susan, Susan” echoed around the arena long after she had left the stage.

Diversity were undoubtedly excellent, recreating their winning routine with characteristic energy, but in the battle of the dance acts in Newcastle, Flawless won hands-down. Performing two innovative routines, one of which included last year’s winner George Sampson, their choreography was intricate, brilliant and, frankly, flawless.

During the first half, the acts performed individually and, after the interval, the combinations began. The pairing of four of the youngest contestants – singer Shaheen, breakdancer Aidan Davis and gorgeous little Peri and Mitchell from Diversity – for the Jackson Five’s I Want You Back, was fantastic. The teaming of tenyear- old Hollie Steel and grandfather/daughter group 2Grand for Edelweiss – the song in which Hollie broke down on national TV after forgetting the words, but this time conquered her demons to perform it beautifully – was heart-warming.

Credit must go to compere Stephen Mulhearn – host of ITV2’s Britain’s Got More Talent – who made it a thoroughly entertaining show, and who, with his wit and sharp remarks, proved that if ever Ant and Dec were to step aside, he’d be a capable replacement.

However, while it was an undoubtedly excellent 90 minutes, there were a couple of bum notes. DJ Talent, opening the show, was, despite his gold suit and unlimited bling, unanimated and boring. Darth Jackson was his usual pointless self, and, as adorable as he may be, the granddad from 2Grand was out of tune.

But for me, the biggest blow of the night was the absence of Stavros Flatley, the comedy Cypriot father-and-son dance act. While the dad did appear briefly his son was nowhere to be seen.

“I swear we’ll come back to Newcastle and perform for free, I swear,” shouted Demetrios. I hope he realised the whole audience will hold him to that.

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