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Archive for May, 2009

Diversity wins Britain’s Got Talent 2009 May 30

After an evening of some incredible performances, I’m pleased to be able to say that the scepticism shown in my last post was proved incorrect. One of the most talented acts on the night not only went out on stage and gave a “flawless” performance, they improved so much from their semi final routine that they leap-frogged their main rivals and won the final of Britain’s Got Talent 2009.

Diversity won over the hearts and phone bills of the nation in what I can only describe as a major victory for talent as opposed to popularity. Summing up tonight’s acts:

Flawless – very good but had been better in the semi final.
Shaheen Jafargholi – his best performance so far, a joy to listen to.
Aidan Davis – while impressive had to agree with Simon Cowell that his semi final performance was better.
2 Grand – with John missing his cue and Sally singing her best performance, it was a sweet performance but not show winning.
Hollie Steel – Everyone wondered whether she’d crack up under the pressure and thankfully she didn’t – enjoyable but there were better singers on the night.
Stavros Flatley – Absolutely fantastic – totally should have been in the top 3.
Shaun Smith – Singing Ain’t no Sunshine and to say the least he nailed it – Wouldn’t be surprised to see an album on the shelves.
Susan Boyle – Her best performance so far. Not my favourite person but it looked like the image consultants had convinced her to say as little as possible after her singing, so less annoying than usual – especially as she came a gracious second.
Diversity – Absolute perfection and totally deserving of their win
Julian Smith – You couldn’t have asked for a better closing act. Totally deserving of his top 3 finish. I would have been as happy if he’d won.

So my heartfelt congratulations to my fellow Londoner’s – Diversity, to Julian for his wonderful performances, to Stavros Flatley’s Dimitrios and Lagi for making me laugh for all the right reasons and to Shaun for reminding that sometimes the classic songs are still the best.

Also my thanks to the YouTube user BritainsSoTalented, who not only allowed me catch up with the acts that I’d missed along the way, but also has given me the ability to jazz up this post with his YouTube uploads.

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Britain’s Got Talent – No Really, it does… May 30

If the viewing figures are to be believed almost a quarter of the UK’s population is wrapped up in the fever of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent. As I write this the bookies favourite is still Susan Boyle at 8/11. The rest of the final line up are Aidan Davis (4/1), Shaheen Jafargholi (8/1), Stavros Flatley (9/1), Flawless (10/1), Julian Smith (12/1), Diversity (10/1), Hollie Steel (16/1), Shaun Smith (33/1) and 2 Grand (50/1).

Personally I’ve never liked the attitude shown on screen by Susan Boyle and if alleged reports of her ranting and swearing are to be believed, it wouldn’t surprise me – From what I’ve seen it would be in line with the personality I’ve seen so far. In agreement with a comment made yesterday on the BBC Breakfast News, I think she doesn’t have as angelic a voice as everyone was convinced when watching her audition for the first time.

She has a powerful and generally good singing voice, that much is true, but I consider most of the wow factor to come from the fact that she walked out on stage and based on her appearance, everyone assumed she would be bad or mediocre at best. I think it’s somewhat more telling of the western world that only “beautiful” or “normal” people are considered likely to have talent…

Someone like Shaun Smith proves the point, in that he looks the part we’d expect of a professional singer and he has a fantastic voice – his version of U2’s With or Without You was incredible and yet despite singing with far more conviction and talent than Ms Boyle, the bookies have placed him 9th by the odds. There wasn’t so much wow factor as people most likely assumed he could sing.

To his credit Shaun never tried to be Bono when singing his semi final choice of song and it’s probably a good thing too, as Bono can reach and hold those long high notes. However, he brought his own style to the song and as far as this U2 fan is concerned, he nailed it. The same could not be said for Susan’s performance of Memory, which despite the positive finish, was shaky at the start to say the least.

If the first semi final had been voted for on talent alone, then the final would have included both Diversity and Sue Son, who despite her excellent performance had already been branded the villain after some dubious press coverage made her out to be self-serving at the expense of her friendship. Although somewhat harsh, Simon Cowell summed it up in the first semi final when he commented that Sue was talented and her friend wasn’t. She had been put in a difficult position and in all honesty I think most people would have made the decision she did and most likely with less thought to the possible impact on their friendship.

There was at least one other act that should have made the final based on talent, but the judges put through the wrong act and that meant young Callum Francis’ endearing smile and fantastic take on the Jungle Book ended in the semi finals. Sweet as 2 Grand is, I don’t think they were the better act on the night. All being well Callum will be given his chance at the West End/Broadway, as he clearly deserves it.

But the fact remains neither Sue nor Callum made the finals and therefore I have to look at the acts that did go through. Based on the talent and performances in the semi finals, my personal pecking order would be: Julian, Shaheen, Flawless, Shaun, Stavros, Diversity, Aidan, Susan, 2 Grand and Hollie. As you can see Susan wouldn’t even make my top 5.

I know that my considering Stavros more talented than say Diversity or Aidan would be considered controversial, but their talent isn’t in their dancing – it’s in their ability to entertain and that they have done by the Fez load. I can’t deny, but part of me would love it if they won and got to perform in front of the queen.

Personally though, I’d love to see Julian Smith take the night. He’s humble, inspirational, cool and most importantly talented, but I suspect that it won’t be talent that wins in tonight’s final. At the very least, he should get to release an album off the back of this and I’d certainly buy it.

So enjoy the final of “Britain’s Got Popular Voting” and just pray that my scepticism is wrong.

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Customising your WordPress Blog May 28

One of the things I like about running my own WordPress Blog, is the ease with which I can customise the functionality and the layout of the site.

I’d recently loaded my Blog and realised that the front page had become ridiculously long. As such my customisation plans included the desire to control the number of posts showing on the front page. A quick Google search of “how do I control the number of posts on front page wordpress” and Voilà I’d found a couple of worthwhile results to explore.

Having settled on Scott Reilly’s Custom Post Limits and installed it, I’ve got to say nothing could have been easier to setup. Unlike the default WordPress setting that is globally applied to all pages, I now have the ability to separately control the number of posts shown on the front page as well as all other sections of my Blog.

For anyone looking for new Plugins for your WordPress Blog, I’d highly recommend taking a look at the Plugin Directory and Coffee 2 Code

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