Jai MacDowall (24) a singer from the village of Tarbolton in Scotland, won Britain’s Got Talent on Saturday night, sparking a constitutional crisis as he did so.
The First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, has warned the UK-wide talent show that it has “no role” in Scotland’s showbusiness system, after a series of controversial decisions led to Scottish acts being denied an opportunity to reach the semi-finals of the show.
The First Minister accused the four judges of “second-guessing” Scotland’s talent system after the London-based panel voted against a number of Scottish acts.
While welcoming the final decision, Mr Salmond launched a renewed attack on BGT judges’ attempts to influence decisions north of the Border, saying it was “totally unsatisfactory” for Simon Cowell to rule on Scottish performers.
Scotland’s justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, who also holds the cabinet brief for talent shows, has previously criticised Amanda Holden for “undermining” the authority of talent contests in Scotland after a series of controversial rulings, including that time that SuBo lost out to a group of street dancers from somewhere in England. He went on to suggest that the BGT judges’ knowledge of Scottish talent was limited to what they might pick up on a trip to the Edinburgh Festival.
Speaking on Newsnight Scotland on Tuesday, Mr. Salmond questioned why Michael McIntyre had the individual authority, sitting as one of only four judges on the BGT panel, to overrule decisions made by the SNP’s Christmas party entertainment committee.
“I don’t think it’s sensible, fair or reasonable in any jurisdiction where we’ve a situation where one judge is overruling the opinion of an entire committee,” he said.
“It boils down to the potential replacement of Scottish law by The Hoff’s law. I don’t think that’s a satisfactory situation.”
“Our concerns are shared by senior members of the Scottish entertainment scene and respected variety performers who have spoken out, including the MacDonald Brothers off The X-Factor.
“This is a practical and moral issue which concerns the rights of viewers and their families, whose search for entertainment is delayed, and leads to performers being decided by a panel where the majority of judges are not expert in Scots music.”
Mr MacAskill said: “When I go to Creative Scotland I say that I will not routinely fund acts that are pure mince. It should be said that I am not going to pay for a panel full of numpties. As a Government we have to pay for Britain’s Got Talent and I think they should recognise that we’ll pay for our fair share of what goes there.
“But I am not paying money that would come out of the Christmas party budget because they are routinely refusing acts that we as a country do not think should be going home.
“He who pays the piper, as they say, calls the tune. And there is not enough bagpipe music on that show.”