Ah, the drama! 'BGT' favourite Ronan is pipped at the post

Jai McDowall wins 'Britain's Got Talent'. Nick Duerden on how Simon Cowell's applecart was upset

And so this, in the end, was what it all came down to, a male-dominated Britain's Got Talent final featuring an impressionist, some warblers, a loony organist who may well have been Peter Kay in sequins, and the old bloke from accounts. No space for the man who sings nursery rhymes to the tunes of Celine Dion, nor the woman of a certain age with rodents dressed as dogs incapable of choreographed mischief.

They say that reality TV holds up a mirror to the nation. Well, if that's true, then one must conclude that in 2011 the British rather run our collective talent pool dry. But then, of course, we have. When Hughie Green suggested that "opportunity knocks" four decades ago, he meant for a precious few only. These days, it's viewed practically as everybody's birthright.

Perhaps, then, this is the reason the latest series of BGT has struggled. Not because of the absence of Piers Morgan, gone, like The Beatles and Right Said Fred before him, to America. But, rather, because we are all so well versed in the script and the players by now: the court jesters; the tremulous who croon in memory of the recently dead; and the funny dancers who, this time around, aren't quite as funny as the funny dancers of the last time around.

Nevertheless, a great many of them continued to pluck away at our heartstrings, making open mockery of our vulnerability as they did so. But even heartstrings harden, and there is only so much affection we can muster for quite so many unlikely looking vessels (the portly, the plain, the past-it) out of whom such mellifluous loveliness unceasingly pours.

But never underestimate a panto for whipping up a climatic storm of kitsch and glitter, and BGT certainly did that last night. Simon Cowell, back in his seat since the semi-finals, had returned purportedly to rescue the show – and the ratings – by bringing with him not only his teeth and unbuttoned shirt, but a lot of fluff and nonsense over whether or not he actually created one of the finalists himself in a secret laboratory on Dr No's island.

Though Cowell protested his innocence – amid scurrilous suggestions from shameful cynics that it was he that planted the story – it is easy to see why little Ronan Parke could be thought a spawn of this particular devil. With Justin Bieber's hair, Bambi's eyes and an Osmond's likeability, he was born for TV talent shows, to say nothing of the fact that he possesses the same Voice of an Angel as previously owned by Charlotte Church, Paul Potts and Susan Boyle.

The controversy helped sustain a nice frisson throughout – so much weight on such slender shoulders, and so on – and over two punishing hours of performances, an endlessly excitable studio audience, surely high on E numbers, and Amanda Holden's indefatigable hair, we gathered, in edge-of-seat fashion, in fear of a last-minute upset, the favourite Parke pipped at the post by, perhaps, one or two who might just have deserved it more, the piano prodigy, for one, or those adorable little boys that will grow up to become JLS by this time next week.

And then – oh, the drama – he was! Pipped at the post! And not by an obvious frontrunner either, but Jai McDowall, an oddly-bearded Scot with a voice as deep as oceans are wide, and whose fellow countryfolk did what Scots always do in such circumstances: phone in en masse, and upset the applecart, Cowell's applecart.

Little Ronan Parke, bless him, was gracious in defeat, with a composure beyond his years. Perhaps he's still young enough to remember the story of the tortoise and the hare.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Social Media Account Writers

£12000 - £13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This social media management pr...

Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor (Magazine Publishing) - Wimbledon - £23-26K

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Deputy Editor - Wimbledon...

Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publishing) - Wimbledon - £26-30K

£26000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Editor (Magazines/Publish...

Ashdown Group: Print Designer - High Wycombe - Permanent £28K

£25000 - £28000 per annum + 24 days holiday, bonus, etc.: Ashdown Group: Print...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition