THERE'S a concept I like to call 'reality lag' and unfortunately its latest victim is Britain's Got Talent.
This happens when a show becomes so popular and watched over and over again that the format becomes stale, the production formulaic and the contestants increasingly fame-hungry.
On the most recent episode of Britain's Got Talent, when Simon Cowell broke his own rules by pressing the Golden Buzzer for the second time, Declan Donnelly loudly exclaimed: "I don't know what's going on anymore!"
Me neither to be honest.
As far as I'm concerned, that was the final nail in the coffin proving that the latest series of Britain's Got Talent has fallen victim to this inevitable curse.
There have been plenty of reports on the harsh criticism of the ITV show from its viewers, and honestly, who can blame them?
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The variety competition show first came onto our screens in 2007, when we saw the likes of Carphone Warehouse manager Paul Potts stun us all with his performance of "Nessun dorma."
Who can forget little Connie Talbot performing Somewhere Over The Rainbow to a packed studio audience at the age of six years old?
Or the way Susan Boyle left jaws on the floor when she said she wanted to be like Elaine Page before belting out I Dreamed A Dream from Les Mis?
We laughed at Francine Lewis doing her impressions of Katie Price, appreciated electronic string quartet Escala's dramatic numbers and we wanted to cry when Hollie Steel broke down with nerves.
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The show has also seen some of the worst auditions in reality TV history, leaving us both cringing and howling at the same time.
But these were all moments that had a real effect on us and they felt both genuine and spontaneous.
This was the magic that used to be shown on the competition, where artists would win the genuinely life-changing opportunity to perform in front of royalty at the Royal Variety Performance for the first time.
Before the series started, Simon Cowell would always stress how the beauty of the show is that it would find someone from a remote town in the UK and bring them into the world of showbiz stardom.
However in recent years we have seen acts that have been specifically flown in or have had a showbiz 'in' with the industry already.
Just this year with the recent audition of dance troupe Unity, it's clear the era of fresh, undiscovered taleny has waned. Undoubtedly Unity have an amazing background story and beautiful messaging, but this is something we've seen time and time again.
We know the formula by now – the super nervous contestant with an incredible 'sob story' who wows the judges and bags a standing ovation from the live audience while Leona Lewis' A Moment Like This blasts out in the background.
Simon then gives the act his signature wink as they depart the stage to be interviewed by Ant and Dec who feign shock at the events that have just unfolded.
It's not just me feeling cynical, it's the viewers who are regularly calling for format changes as it's clear the formula has grown old.
At this point it didn't even feel unpredictable when Simon broke the rules to give Unity his second Golden Buzzer.
Instead, it reeked of desperate producers doing everything they can to try and prove the show still has tricks up its sleeve, just like the constant rule changing towards the end on X Factor.
In 2022 we previously reported that 15 acts that appeared in the 2022 series of the show were 'recycled' as they previously appeared ininternational series of the Got Talent franchise, or already had a profile in showbiz.
And here we go again, because as it turns out, Unity did not simply and spontaneously enter the competition from a college in a remote UK town as they would have had us believe on stage.
Members trained at Brookside star Jennifer Ellison's theatre school, Jelli Studios, and some of the students even performed at the finale of The Eurovision Song Contest.
Most reality shows have seen the same fate – look at how bored TV watchers became with The X Factor and Big Brother.
Images come flooding back of an ever-dwindling crowd at Elstree Studios at Emma Willis' eviction nights.
ITV wheels out this show year after year to the same audience that is slowly but surely losing interest.
If the show is to survive in the long-term, we don't need new judges or chaotic rule changes, we simply need a chance to miss it.
Excitement for the new series of Big Brother is at an all-time high, and that's because it's making a glorious return after years off our small screens.
But what does BGT have?
A stale format? Tick.
Formulaic production that we have seen before? Another tick.
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Contestants that are no longer organic that instead are promoted from showbiz backgrounds? A third tick.
I think it maybe time to press the red buzzer on the show. At least for now.
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