I love Britain’s Got Talent. We’ve watched it from the start, managing to ignore Piers Morgan for the most part, and even sticking with it through the tricky Hasselhof years.

I feel it has become much less spontaneous and more staged over the years – although Simon’s stalk off the stage mid-act last night was terrific – but it’s still fab, and now we have two boys who love it as well. It is great family entertainment, and I hope it’s something they remember doing as a family when they grow up.

This is the first year that we’ve allowed them to stay up each night to watch the live shows, and vote via the app at the end of them; and I must confess that this is mainly because it’s half term. (I would never put myself through five late school nights – or rather, five nightmarish school mornings – however good the acts.)

 As we limp towards the final on Saturday, with the boys rubbing their eyes and insisting they are not tired by 8pm every night, I’ve learned a few things from the experience, which I’m going to try and remember next year.


My quick headlines tips would be:

1 – Get the app, ideally one each, and let them vote on there – avoids any need to even discuss phone voting;

2 – Pretend you didn’t hear anything unusual when Amanda lets slip an expletive;

3 – Feign the same enthusiasm as them for their favourite acts, or face lengthy questioning about why you don’t like it.


 

But these are the lessons I’d like to go into in more a bit more detail.

 

Find an alternative punishment to iPad confiscation

 For backchatting and general stroppiness, the eldest was rewarded with the loss of his prized iPad. It’s usually a great punishment, and effective all round (although clearly it doesn’t do much for reducing his repeat offending!).

On this occasion, though, we perhaps should have thought through the consequences for us – or rather, me. When voting time came around, he looked so sad that he couldn’t add his own contribution to the tallies via the app on his iPad, that I offered to let him “help me vote”. In practice this meant that the majority of my votes went on acts involving children and animals, and not the exceptional showcasing of talent that I would have preferred to support.

He was delighted to learn the next day that his exceptionally good behaviour had earned it back, and in time for voting too.

9pm is late enough

We quickly figured out that while the show starts at a reasonable time – 7:30 – voting doesn’t begin until 9pm, and the results aren’t announced until about 9:50pm. We love our children, but I can’t face corralling them into the bedtime routine at 10pm every night for nearly a week. So we decided to let them stay up to vote, and put the results show on with breakfast the next morning. Unfortunately, if you are on any sort of social media you have to go temporarily blind to anything tagged #BGT if you want to avoid the results yourself.

They have a very elevated view of their own voting impact

If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s that the dog will probably win, or the one with the most sentimental back story. So watching the Wednesday night results show, the littlest was most gratified that his favourite act – Kojo the comedian – got through. “That’s because I gave him all my votes,” he pronounced. I sense disappointment to come in the Final, and I’m not sure any amount of preparation will overcome it.

I wish they would schedule the Final for the Saturday night instead of the Sunday, but they will probably be staying up for it anyway, and next year I’m hoping they will look forward to this week next year with excitement and a bit of anticipation about the treat to come. I only hope the results this year are to their liking…

If you’re as excited as we are, here’s all the info you need to prepare for Sunday’s Britain’s Got Talent Final: https://www.radiotimes.com/news/tv/2019-05-30/britains-got-talent-2019-final-time-date/#r3z-addoor

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