From a musician pelting Simon Cowell with eggs to a ‘fake’ dog performing tricks, it’s all happened on Britain’s Got Talent over the years
Image: ITV / REX)
While Britain’s Got Talent has produced many stars in its 15-year history – think Susan Boyle and Diversity – it has also resulted in many a controversial moment.
Of course, most of these moments happen when the live semi-finals kick off and all hell breaks loose.
From a musician pelting Simon Cowell with eggs and a ‘fake’ dog performing tricks to furious viewers smashing their keyboards to let Ofcom know that they are most certainly not happy, everything you can imagine has happened during the live shows.
It’s often been left up to hosts Ant and Dec to mop up the mess… but one year even they were even the subject of controversy.
Simon Cowell pelted with eggs
It’s almost been 10 years since Simon Cowell was pelted with eggs live on air, but it’s not a sight many of us could forget.
At the height of BGT and X Factor’s golden era, musician Natalie Holt decided to take aim (literally) at the media mogul.
Contestants Richard and Adam Johnson had been performing during the live shows when Natalie walked up behind them with a carton of eggs and began throwing eggs at Simon.
Opening up afterwards, she told the Guardian that she “decided to make a little act of protest about something that matters profoundly” to her.
“My actions were intended as a non-violent, egg-based protest because I think Cowell has too much power and influence in the entertainment industry,” she said at the time. “I also just wanted to make him look a bit silly.”
Dec hosts BGT semi-finals alone
Back in 2018, Ant McPartlin took a year-long break from presenting after he was charged with – and later pled guilty to – drink driving after he was involved in a three-car smash.
He received a 20-month driving ban and a fine of £86,000.
While the BGT auditions had already been filmed prior to the crash, the live semi-finals were due to go ahead.
As a result, Dec was forced to present BGT solo for the first time ever.
Opening the first live show, Dec quipped at the time: “The talent is as good as ever, the judges are the same, and the presenters, probably best not to dwell on that lets get on with the show.”
A year later, Ant broke his silence in an interview The Sun in January 2019, revealing how his “world came crashing down” following the incident but that his partner Anne Marie Corbett had saved his life.
BGT forced off-air
The year of Ant’s absence during the live semi-finals proved to be a very dramatic time for the show.
The stormy weather was blamed for the issues during Dec’s first solo show, leading him to joke: “All going well so far guys.”
Simon had joked at the time that Ant had sabotaged the show, quipping: “Ant you are coming back next year you didn’t need to do that.”
Voting storm as viewers call for judges to be sacked
Viewers were not happy during BGT’s last live semi-finals back in 2020 when a fan favourite Sirine Jahangir failed to make it through to the final.
The London-based singer, who is blind, wowed viewers and judges with her soaring vocals in the semi-finals.
However, the judges chose to send a magician through to the next round instead of the 14-year-old, prompting furious viewers to lash out on Twitter.
One fumed: “I honestly don’t know what the judges were thinking! This is the third week in a row where they’ve made the wrong decision!”
While another raged: “Wow, disappointed doesn’t even cover it, Sirine should’ve been going to finals imho. #BGT #BritainsGotTalent.”
Ofcom voting row and the ‘fake’ dog
Ofcom and ITV were inundated with nearly 1,000 complaints over Jules O’Dwyer and dog Matisse back in 2015.
The double act initially won over the hearts of the public with their adorable and incredible routines – but things turned sour.
Fury erupted among the public after they learned that an imposter – puppy Chase – had stood in for Matisse for a tight-rope stunt in the semi-finals.
The outrage prompted Simon Cowell to launch an investigation, though no formal action was taken against the act even though Ofcom ruled that viewers had been misled.
BGT winners Jules and Matisse were still able to perform in the Royal Variety Performance, though some did not believe that they should have been allowed.
Diversity’s BLM performance hit with Ofcom complaints
Viewers’ ‘delicate’ sensibilities were tested greatly back in 2020 with Diversity’s powerful BLM-inspired routine.
The four minute-long dance saw a white police office kneeling on Ashley Banjo’s neck – a reflection of the brutal murder of black man George Floyd by white cop Derek Chauvin.
It became 2020’s most complained about TV show moment after racking up 31,000 complaints to Ofcom.
Ashley recently told The Mirror that he still receives abuse on social media for the BLM dance two years ago.
“It happens all the time,” he said. “I did this slot on GMB to talk about how life-changing it was winning a BAFTA for the routine and I went on Twitter afterwards, and it was just like a stream of comments. The negative ones always cut through.”
*Britain’s Got Talent’s live semi-finals air from Monday at 8pm on ITV