Britain's Got Talent 2013: Simon Cowell sends child dancers Pre Skool through to final - but offends viewers by calling them 'midgets'
Friday 31 May 2013
Britain's Got Talent judge Simon Cowell reignited the row over children performing on the show by sending some of the competition's youngest contestants through to the grand final - but avoided a kiss from Amanda Holden in the process.
Cowell voted for pint-sized Welsh dancers Pre Skool to join band Luminites in the final round, ahead of their fellow top-three act, dancer Joseph Hall.
Judges Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden - who said she was so confident Pre Skool would make the final that she offered to kiss Cowell if the children did not get through - both plumped for Hall, a 35-year-old dance teacher.
But Cowell - who was caught up in a war of words with Sir Bruce Forsyth earlier in the week after the showbiz veteran said youngsters faced "emotional damage" from the pressure of performing - agreed with David Walliams to send Pre Skool into the last round.
Cowell said: "I can make an argument for both (Pre Skool and Hall) - I really, really am torn on this. I am voting for Pre Skool."
It meant the public vote was called on to make the final decision on last night's show, sending the jubilant youngsters through.
Both Walliams and Cowell appeared to acknowledge Sir Bruce's comments in the Daily Mail this week, in which he said: "I really do think he should stop putting young children under the immense and possibly damaging pressure of performing on national television, not just in front of a live audience, but also before four very sharp judges.
"You can see that many of the adult performers find the experience traumatic, so what sort of emotional damage could it be doing to children who, for the most part, are only there because of the ambition of their parents and teachers?"
Following the Port Talbot youngsters' performance, the Little Britain actor quipped: "I know there has been a bit of criticism about school children on this show - but not about kids who are too young to go to school."
Cowell, meanwhile, added: "Just to be clear in case somebody's watching - these are all 45-year-old midgets." The reference to "midgets" brought some criticism on social media.
But Cowell was in typically acerbic mood, describing the show as resembling "an insane amateur talent show at a holiday camp".
It came after an eclectic bill which featured upside-down juggler Thomas Bounce, magician Stevie Pink and comic book-inspired dancers Freelusion.
Luminites stole the show, however, with their rendition of the Bee Gees' "To Love Somebody".
Cowell told them: "I can't tell you how much I am going to thank God for bringing you tonight."
They will compete in the grand final, to be held a week on Saturday.
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Germanwings plane crash: Video shows co-pilot Andreas Lubitz learning to fly as a teenager
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 4 Germanwings crash: Captain of doomed plane was only 'on board because he changed job to spend more time with his children'
- 5 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
Cassetteboy joins forces with Russell Brand for Emperor's New Clothes film
Poldark, review: Demelza’s insouciance is almost as impressive as Ross’ pecs
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity, TV review: The affable Englishman routine is wearing a bit thin
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew