This past weekend saw the return of one of the country’s favourite television shows, Britain’s Got Talent, and this time it features a brand new, shiny, golden button. The first round of auditions on Saturday’s show saw the usual eclectic bunch of performers vying for the attention of Cowell, Holden, Dixon and Walliams; from dance troupes, to performing animals, to child singers and everything weird and wonderful in between. But it was almost-80-year-old Sarah ‘Paddy’ Jones and her dance partner Nico Espinosa, which have had the nation talking.
Just moments after Simon Cowell declared his huge disinterest in ballroom dancing Paddy and Nico took to the stage, prompting Mr Cowell to live up to his word and immediately press his red buzzer, which Simon was to regret; because here came a true ‘Susan Boyle’ moment. The awe and amazement in the audition studio was audible, even through our TV sets, as the dancing couple flung themselves into a vibrant Latin number. The camera cut to open-mouthed, astonished members of the audience as they watched Nico throw 79 year old Paddy around in a number of elaborate acrobatic moves. The performance ended in a flurry of applause and Amanda Holden pressing the Golden Buzzer, immediately sending the dancing duo through to the next round of the competition.
It was at this point that Simon uttered a rare apology, admitting his premature judgement of the couple and their level of talent, and it was here that we were told of Paddy’s past. She revealed to the judges how she had to give up dancing when she married and had children. However with the passing away of her husband, just 18 months after relocating to Spain, prompted her to take up her old hobby once more. This was when she went to her local dance academy and began dance lessons with Nico, some 40 years her junior.
However, the show fell short of mentioning, at this point, that Paddy and Nico had previously competed in another very similar talent show back in Spain. The couple went on to win the ‘Tu Si Que Vales’ talent show five years ago, and then in 2010 Paddy gained the Guinness World Record title of “oldest acrobatic salsa dancer” . This is where the first controversy of the series begins, as it could be seen that the couple’s previous talent show experience may leave them at an unfair advantage. Nevertheless, ITV bosses have claimed that the judges were unaware of Paddy and Nico’s previous success, and that they were judged purely on the merit of their audition.
Despite the suggestion of an unfair advantage, one must recognise the pure talent that Paddy displayed during her audition. Coming on to another talent show just goes to demonstrate a hunger to succeed and a passion for her hobby, and confirms the old cliché that ‘we Brits triumph in face of adversity’. During the show, David Walliams told her: “You are an amazing example to older people because you have shown, however old you are, you can still be spectacular and beautiful, and still be amazing”, whilst Amanda Holden exclaimed that she hopes the couple will win the show.
Simon Cowell has since revealed that he is rooting for Paddy and Nico and hopes that they make it far in the competition. He took to twitter to defend the couple, urging the public to give Paddy a chance, regardless of her appearing on a Spanish talent show, adding: “She is British and wants the chance to perform in front of our royal family”. We will next see Paddy and Nico performing in the live semi-finals of the competition. The show continues with its second round of auditions this coming Saturday at 7pm on ITV.
What best represents your idea of Great British talent?