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belfast has got talent?

Our Arts Correspondent Duana Forrest provides a first-hand account of the recent Brtain’s Got Talent auditions in Belfast.

Saturday 19th January 2014: crowds arrived in the hundreds in the hope of spotting the next big thing as David Walliams, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and Mr Nasty, Simon Cowell arrived at the Waterfront Hall for the very first set of Britain’s Got Talent Live Auditions.

This marks the first year that the hit TV Show has decided to hold auditions in Northern Ireland and household favourites Ant and Dec were particularly pleased to be in Belfast. The duo expressed their excitement to the cheering audience ‘We’ve been pestering the producers to come to Northern Ireland for years, we’re delighted they finally gave in.’ With the free ticketed event and the hope of getting a glimpse of ‘Daddy to be’ Mr Cowell, spirits were high. However, spirits were very quickly saturated and crushed.

Britain's Got Talent Belfast Live Auditions, Duana Forrest

12.15: Arriving 45 minutes early for the afternoon session of the event, the queues were surprisingly small. However, we were already being told that we were on a reserve list, regardless of having an e-ticket. The excitement to have been one of the lucky ones to have got tickets quickly changed to panic and worry. Around 12.45 we eventually moved our way around the line to the ticket lady, and thankfully there were enough left for us.

1pm: The doors were scheduled to open at 1pm and close at 1.30pm. And as with show business, nothing ever runs smoothly. Eventually the crowd realised that until the judges arrived, no one was for getting in. And, of course, celebrities like to be fashionably late, especially Mr Cowell. Waiting in the freezing cold and pouring rain was completely unfair and put a major downer on the entire day.

2pm: After queuing for almost two hours, soaking wet and numb with the cold, we decided to join the few frustrated ones and left the line with our tickets and went on the hunt for a cup of coffee. After a half hour we returned to the Waterfront, where we had to stand for (surprise, surprise) another lengthy wait in the freezing cold, yet again.

britain's Got talent, Belfast Live Auditions

2.30pm: Eventually the judges slowly arrived one by one in their extravagant blacked out Audis. After hours of waiting the crowd were visibly agitated, but it didn’t stop them cheering in excitement when each of the four judges walked the red carpet. Unfortunately, although hilariously, it was Britain’s Got More Talent presenter Stephen Mulhern who was subjected to the irritated chanting of ‘let us in’ as he arrived at the red carpet.

Amanda and Alesha proved they know how to work a red carpet with their glamorous outfit choices, David arrived in his classic suit with a red tie while Simon decided to shake things up. No, not really. He arrived in his signature white t-shirt, sunglasses and cigarette.

3.30pm: Eventually, they opened the doors into the warmth and the crowd hurried in, desperate for a comfortable seat. Thankfully, after the debacle before-hand, our seats were great. We had a panoramic view of the stage and judges desk, while still being able to see the camera and technical equipment and the edition of a brand new, special buzzer. They have introduced a golden buzzer, where a judge can press it only once during the entire of the audition process, immediately sending an act through to the live shows.

And of course, old faithful, the dreaded red buzzers were back in full force. As the crew were working with the judges table, making sure everything was in working order, the entire audience froze and a sea of gasps and ‘Oh my God’s’ flooded the hall. What you don’t see on screen, is just how loud the red buzzers actually are. They completely fill the hall with a ground shaking jump. In the end I began to watch the judge’s hands rather than the acts, just to prepare myself for that awful noise.

Belfast proved that it did have talent: the good, the bad and the strange.

Things kicked off with a Tipperary man’s take on traditional Irish Dancing with a broom, prompting Amanda and Alesha to start singing ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’, charming the audience and judges. There were a number of standout auditions: eleven year old Zena Donnelly, who starred as Annie in Dublin last year, wowed the judges and audience with her powerhouse vocals; tradition with a twist Irish dance troop Innova; and three Celtic tenors.

 

And, because it’s Britain’s Got Talent, there was the cringe worthy and the hilarious. Four buzzers were hit for two acts in the afternoon auditions, one for a comedy sketch involving a man with multiple personalities and the other for a man who (after spending minutes behind a makeshift desk trying to set up his mobile phone, with the help of Dec) carried out a series of re-enactments of comedy sketches includingFawlty Towers and Mr Bean.

The most memorable auditionee however, was a German composer, dressed all in white with golden hair, somewhat resembling XFactor’s Wagner. He expressed his love for the show and Simon, having composed a song specifically for the audition. As he began, singing whilst playing the violin, it was clear that Belfast had produced a classic audition that left Simon and the rest of the Judges in hysterics. And as predicted, he went sailing through to the next round.

The auditions were filled with humour and sarcasm, as only Belfast could deliver. The compere between each audition provided hilarious remarks, teasing of the judges and of course making fun of the Belfast accent. It wasn’t just the audience that enjoyed the humour; the judges also enjoyed the banter that Northern Ireland had to offer. As one local shouted between acts ‘Shake your booty’ to David, he quickly released his inner camp side and shouted ‘No, you shake your booty’ while Simon and Alesha shared their sweets with the front row prompting the compere to yell ‘Simon feeds Belfast!’ (We wish! A McDonalds would have went down nicely)

The wait may have been soul destroying, but the event itself was well worth seeing. It was fascinating and incredible to see the amount of production and work that is constantly going on behind the scenes by a large skilled crew. Having household names in Belfast and a show that is watched by thousands will surely give Northern Ireland a boost.

The stage, the lights, the comedy, it was a great laugh and well worth it in the end.

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This entry was posted on February 5th, 2014 at 10:34 am by Desima

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