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  • Writer's pictureZhi Hong

Connections between Britain's Got Talent and Eurovision


Photo courtesy of The Mirror Online

Both ITV's 'Britain's Got Talent' (BGT) and the Eurovision Song Contest are European, competitions and consist of a jury and televote.


There are many similarities between BGT and Eurovision. The connection between the two shows strengthened last month with the announcement that BGT judge Alesha Dixon would be one of the hosts of this year's Eurovision Song Contest held in Liverpool.


We take a look at the connections between Europe's largest singing contest and Britain's biggest talent show and found many overlaps between the two when it comes to presenters and contestants.


Let's take a look.



Alesha Dixon


A BGT judge since 2012, Alesha entered the entertainment industry in the early 2000s as the rapper in the British girl group Mis-Teeq. The band went their separate ways in 2005, with Alesha becoming a solo artist. Her most successful single was 'The Boy Does Nothing' which was released in 2008. It reached top ten in multiple countries including Australia and her native UK.


Alesha has been a contestant herself in a televised competition, having won Britain's Strictly Come Dancing in 2007. Two years later she had her first experience as a judge, by joining the panel of the same program. She remained as a Strictly judge until 2011, when she joined BGT the following year.


The Eurovision 2023 host also has much experience as a television presenter. Most notably she has hosted Alesha's Street Dance Stars, The Greatest Dancer - which is another show created by Simon Cowell, and Comic Relief.


On February 22, Alesha was announced as a host for this year's Eurovision along with Graham Norton, Hannah Waddingham and Julia Sanina. In an interview on Lorraine in early March, Alesha said "[It's] such an honour to be asked to host what might arguably be ... the event of the year .. I can't wait." You can watch Alesha's full interview on Lorraine below.



We can't wait to see Alesha on stage in Liverpool in May!



Amanda Holden


The other female BGT judge also has a connection to Eurovision. Amanda has been a well-known British actress for several decades. Her most recent acting role was as Harriet Wallace on Neighbours last year. She has been a judge on BGT since its inception in 2007.


Amanda initially appeared to be quite cynical about the Europe-wide Contest. When contestant Christian Spridon - who is originally from Romania - performed an extremely camp and off-key performance of 'It's Raining Men' during the Semi-Finals of BGT in 2017, Amanda had a dig at both him and Eurovision. In her comments she remarked "[Your performance] was a piece of entertainment, but I think the Eurovision Song Contest was about two weeks ago ... you probably really would have done quite well on that competition. I'm not sure you are going to do very well on this one."



Despite her comments on BGT, Amanda in 2021 was the UK spokesperson at Eurovision. During her announcement of the votes she declared "I love Eurovision: the drama, the excitement, and all the wildly over-the-top camp outfits - and that is just me!" She also greeted viewers in French and Dutch, claiming she did not know which language was which, before awarding the UK jury's douze points to France.



Destiny


Following her victory at Junior Eurovision in 2015, the Maltese starlet tried her luck at BGT in 2017. When asked at her audition by the judges why she made the trip from Malta to perform on British television, Destiny mentioned her Junior Eurovision win, to which BGT creator Simon Cowell remarked "I didn't know there was [a junior version of Eurovision.]" She then performed a cover of Aretha Franklin's 'Think' which received a standing ovation from all the judges and the audience. Alesha gushed: "For me that was knockout, that is one of the hardest songs to sing, and you are fourteen and you killed it. Brilliant, brilliant audition." Destiny subsequently opened the second semi-final of BGT that year. She finished sixth in that heat, and therefore was eliminated.



In early 2020, Destiny won the second season of X Factor Malta, which is based off the original British version created by Simon Cowell. This gave her the right to represent Malta at Eurovision the same year. However, with the 2020 contest cancelled due to COVID, Destiny had wait the following year to make her debut on the adult Eurovision stage. In 2021 she sang 'Je me casse' and finished seventh in the Grand Final.



Ryan O'Shaughnessy


He is the only Irish contestant to have made it to the Eurovision final in the past nine contests, but before that Ryan reached the final of BGT in 2012. At the time he was nineteen and studying at college in Dublin. At his first audition he performed an original song 'No Name', about a female friend he had a crush on, that left members of the audience visibly in tears. Alesha remarked: "That was really sweet and sincere, I just really enjoyed it, and I felt it, it was very lovely, well done."


Ryan performed another original song 'First Kiss' in the last semi-final of BGT 2012, where he topped the audience vote, and qualified for the final. In the final he performed 'No Name' once again, and finished fifth. Ryan's BGT appearance helped secure him a contract with Sony Music, with whom he released 'No Name'. The song reached number three in Ireland and number 31 in the UK.



At Eurovision in 2018, Ryan sung 'Together', and became the first Irish entry to qualify for the final in five years, subsequently finishing 16th in the Saturday night show.



Kseniya Simonova


The Crimean-born sand artist became a viral sensation after winning Ukraine's Got Talent in 2009. Kseniya has performed at Eurovision twice. First she supported her home country's entry in 2011, who that year was represented by Mika Newton with 'Angel'. They finished fourth in the final. Kseniya returned in 2019, this time supporting Moldova's Anna Odobescu with 'Stay'. This time Kseniya created what she described as "snow art" which apparently is more complicated than her normal sand art. However it was to no avail, with Moldova failing to qualify for the final that year.


Later in the same year as her second Eurovision appearance, Kseniya participated in Britain's Got Talent: The Champions. In her preliminary performance, Kseniya created a sand story dedicated to children diagnosed with cancer. Her performance received a standing ovation from the judges, and the golden buzzer from Amanda. Whilst embracing Kseniya, Amanda muttered to her: "It's just beautiful ... that was so moving, thank you."



The golden buzzer meant Kseniya automatically qualified for the final, where her sand story this time was dedicated to Princess Diana. She ultimately finished third overall.



Asanda


Whilst several BGT acts have gone to represent non-British countries, no BGT entry has ever represented the UK itself. One has come close though. Asanda was just eleven years old when she entered BGT in 2013. She performed Rihanna's 'Diamonds' at her audition, which led Simon Cowell to say: "We have had a lot of people your age over the years performing. I've never seen anyone who has got such an amazing stage presence for an eleven year old ... I mean seriously, seriously good."



In the semi-final Asanda performed 'Halo' by her hero Beyonce. She was put through the finals by the judges, where she sang 'If I were a Boy' and finished eleventh overall.


Asanda reappeared on British television in 2018, competing in Eurovision: You Decide, which would choose the UK entry for Eurovision that year. Her song 'Legends' was the bookies' favourite until the night of the contest, when it was overtaken by Surie's 'Storm', who subsequently won the competition and represented the UK at Eurovision 2018.



Simon Cowell


Any BGT related article would not be complete without a quick mention about its creator and head judge Simon Cowell. The music mogul was originally lined up to be a judge on season four of The X Factor Israel, with the winner of the show also representing Israel at Eurovision 2022. Eurovision 2018 champion, Netta, was also a judge on that edition of X Factor Israel. However Simon withdrew being a judge on the show before filming began, in what was described to the media as "for his own reasons." Michael Ben David would be crowned the winner of that edition of X Factor Israel, and represented the nation at Eurovision 2022 with 'I.M'. He failed to qualify for the final.


Through his involvement in the Got Talent and X Factor franchises in both the UK and US, Simon has directly judged multiple Eurovision contestants. Aside from the ones previously mentioned, others include: Andy Abraham (UK 2008), Lucie Jones (UK 2017), Jedward (Ireland 2011 and 2012), Brendan Murray (Ireland 2017), Saara Aalto (Finland 2018), Cezar (Romania 2013), Slavko Kalezić (Montenegro 2017), Johnny Manuel (Bulgaria 2018), Glennis Grace (Netherlands 2005), Sara James (Junior Eurovision Poland 2021), and Daneliya Tuleshova (Junior Eurovision Kazakhstan 2018).


Simon Cowell with Sara James, who was his golden buzzer on America's Got Talent 2022

The final factor that BGT and Eurovision have in common is that they are often broadcast in the same month of May, and sometimes compete against each other in the same time slot in the UK. Given that Alesha has not relinquished her BGT judging duties in light of her Eurovision hosting appointment, there is the distinct possibility that both BBC and ITV viewers will be able to watch to watch her at the same time on May 13. Talk about exposure!


We wish Alesha all the best in her Eurovision hosting duties, and hope to see more BGT acts grace the Eurovision stage in the future.


For continued updates on all the Eurovision Song Contest news follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. All links at: https://linktr.ee/aussievisionnet

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