Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) 12 winner Lee Ridley (right) with host Declan Donnelly
BGT picks comedian winner for 1st time
Leah C. Salterio (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — For the first time, a comedian received the grand prize in Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) 12, which concluded early this week. Lee Ridley, who came to be known as the Lost Voice Guy, won the cash prize of 250,000 pounds and the chance to be in a Royal Variety Performance.

The 37-year-old Lee was diagnosed with cerebral palsy that he found it hard to speak and eventually lost his voice. He used a voice synthesizer to talk to his audience and get his act across on TV. Perhaps, he reminded everyone about the late English theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, who died last March. The latter also used a voice synthesizer.

In BGT, Lee always came out wearing statement shirts that highlighted his disability. He was grateful for the overwhelming support of the public. He is set to bring his well-received comedy before the Queen and that thrilled him all the more.

Meanwhile, comedian Robert White came in a head-to-head competition with Lee, when they were down to the final two. Robert, who hails from Sussex, was adjudged this season’s runner-up. He brought the house down with his brand of comedy, which he did while singing and playing the keyboards that got everyone in stitches.

“You are insanely funny,” Alesha Dixon remarked about Robert’s performance. “You’re so likable and natural. I love everything about you.”

Three comedians made it to the finals, including Micky P. Kerr, who also displayed his talent as a singer-musician and played the acoustic guitar. Save for the three comedians, most of the finalists this season turned out to be singers.

“A comedian has never won Britain’s Got Talent,” judge David Walliams noted at the start of the finals, aired on AXN.

David’s Golden Buzzer, 61-year-old singer from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, Donchez Dacres, came in third place. The latter gave a rousing rendition of Only a Man, which got the audience to their feet.

Judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha also banked on talented singers to win this season’s competition. Father-and-son act, Tim and Jack Goodacre, was Simon’s choice for the Golden Buzzer, who rendered the soulful Lucky Ones, singing with their guitar.

Welsh theater assistant and opera singer Gruffydd Wyn Roberts was Amanda’s Golden Buzzer bet, who belted out Andrea Boccelli’s Italian version of Ed Sheeran’s Perfect.

Meanwhile, Alesha’s choice for the Golden Buzzer, Lifford Shillingford, failed to make it to the finals. Same with hosts Ant and Dec’s Golden Buzzer, magician Marc Spelmann.

Ten-year-old singer Calum Courtney from Essex kicked off the show and rocked the stage reprising his audition piece, Michael Jackson’s Who’s Loving You. Vocal group D Day Darlings, sleek in their blue uniforms, gave a heartfelt performance of Vera Lynn’s The White Cliffs of Dover, highlighted by elderly servicemen parading the stage.

Before the finals started, it was also announced the B Positive Choir was given the chance to be the Wild Card entry and this season’s 11th act. All the members in the group have blood-related conditions.

The two other finalists were DVJ street dance group and Vietnamese duo the Giang Brothers, who impressed the audience with their gymnastic stunts and balancing acts.

Guests in the show were half-naked men from the West End cast of Magic Mike, who wowed the audience with an adrenalin surging dance number. Surprise of the night was the live appearance of Hollywood actor Channing Tatum, who originated the role of Magic Mike on the big screen and promoted the live run onstage, both in West End and Las Vegas.

Declan Donnelly hosted the live shows by his lonesome up until the finals, minus his co-host Ant McPartlin. The latter had to take time off from TV hosting after a recent brush with the law.

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