BGT launch Golden buzzers awarded

BGT launch: Golden buzzers awarded

Britain’s Got Talent has returned with an explosive launch episode which saw a singer and a South Korean martial arts troupe both awarded the coveted golden buzzer.

Bubbly singer Sydnie Christmas, 28, dazzled the judges with her voice, while Ssaulabi Performance Troupe impressed with their taekwondo skills during the first episode of the ITV’s show 17th series, which aired on Saturday.

The first show of the double-bill weekend also saw unusual singers, astounding dogs and a peppy cheer squad take to the stage in a bid to impress the judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Bruno Tonioli.

Singer Christmas, from Kent, grabbed the judges’ and audience’s attention immediately with her cheerful attitude and quick humour.

She revealed she had moved to London and currently works at a gym, but her dream was to perform on the West End.

However, she had an uphill battle on her hands as it was revealed that Cowell was not a fan of her song choice – Tomorrow from the musical Annie.

Following a powerful and emotional rendition of the ballad, she received uproarious applause from the audience and all the judges gave her a standing ovation.

Holden praised her saying: “What struck me so much about you is just how naturally funny, how warm, how brilliant your presence was the minute you walked on the stage.

“How you were entertaining everyone but then you brought us the most heartfelt, beautiful version of that song.”

She added that it was the “best version” of the song she had ever heard before awarding her a golden buzzer, causing Christmas to fall to her knees.

Cowell also confirmed she had won him over as he said: “That reaction we just had in the room is rare…

“Everyone’s aware it’s tough to get that break for something which you really love. You so deserve what you just got. Your control was amazing.

“I used to hate that song and now I absolutely love it.”

Later in the episode, Ssaulabi Performance Troupe revealed they had travelled all the way from South Korea to show off their martial arts skills.

The lively taekwondo routine by the group, aged 19 to 23, saw them perform dramatic sommersaults and flips as they broke planks of wood with their hands and feet.

At one stage a member of the troupe performed pirouettes while continuously breaking planks of wood, and at various other points, a member would be flung up into the air so they could kick another series of planks.

Hosts Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly appeared amazed throughout the routine and at the end, they rushed to the judging panel to award the troupe their golden buzzer.

Judge Tonioli said the “power, the beauty and the artistry” of their routine blew everything he had seen before “out of the water”, while Dixon praised their “discipline hard work and dedication”.

The judges previously revealed that nine golden buzzers will be awarded this series, breaking their usual one-per-person limit.

Elsewhere in the episode, a singing group named Rask AI had the judges in fits of laughter as they used artificial technology to superimpose the judge’s heads onto characters from the hit 2017 film The Greatest Showman.

Cowell’s face was used for ringleader PT Barnum, Holden for the bearded lady, Dixon for the acrobat and Tonioli as the strong man.

The act got four yeses as Dixon described it as “absolute madness” and Cowell said it was “genius”.

Viewers also got a dose of cheer from Lady Grenades, a cheerleading team made up of athletes from around the country aged from 13 to 19.

Their high-energy routine to 2 Be Loved (Am I Ready) by US superstar Lizzo – which featured flips, dips and dramatic lifts – secured them a full stack of yeses.

The opening episode also featured several acts who put an unusual twist on their performance, including 34-year-old Kimberley Winter who travelled from America to audition for Britain’s Got Talent.

The judges initially thought she was going to sing a rendition of an Abba classic, but instead she burped her way through the number.

Dixon and Tonioli appeared disgusted by the routine, but Holden and Cowell were impressed by her unusual talent.

After some convincing by the others, Tonioli changed his vote to a yes as he said he could not “possibly imagine how you’re going to outgross this grossness”.

Music teacher Mike Woodhams, 37, also surprised the judges when what they thought would be a typical singing act, was actually a series of impersonations of famous vocalists.

Among the collection was a note-perfect rendition of James Blunt’s hit You’re Beautiful, a cover of Anastacia’s I’m Outta Love featuring similar coloured glasses to ones in her music video, and Macy Gray’s I Try, which saw him produce flowers from his back pocket as seen in song’s accompanying video.

Tonioli said the vocal impressions by the singer from Milton Keynes were the best he had heard in a “very long time”.

Meanwhile, 38-year-old Lucy Heath returned to the show after previously getting through to the live final in 2016 with her dog Trip Hazard.

This time round she upped the ante by bringing on four dogs as part of her The Trickstars act, which got the judges’ tails wagging and secured her four yeses.

The launch show also featured a series of more off-the-wall acts including trumpet player Dennis Frere-Smith, 64, who played a number of odd objects including a hosepipe during his audition.

While stand-up comedian Bobby Goldfinn performed a fish-inspired routine which consisted of him instantly forgetting he had started, as well as “forgetting” that he had even done the audition as he returned to the stage several more times throughout the episode.

The competition kicks off with a double bill weekend on Saturday and Sunday when the first set of brave contestants take to the stage in the hope of securing a £250,000 cash prize and a spot on the bill of the Royal Variety Performance.

Britain’s Got Talent returns on Sunday.

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