It’s rare to have a first on Britain’s Got Talent.
With an annual influx of singers and street dancers, we really did sit up on Saturday night when Krystyna Lennon and Hypnodog auditioned in front of 11.9 million viewers.
The act was – if you hadn’t already guessed – a dog that had mastered the tricky art of hypnosis. Lennon stated that you only had to look into her pooch’s eyes to suddenly be overcome with tiredness and fall asleep.
The arena audience – and judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon – seemed understandably sceptical.
So Lennon invited seven (supposedly) random members of the public, along with presenters Ant and Dec, to come up and be put under Hypnodog’s spell.
Promptly, all nine participants fell to the floor after looking at the dog’s big, dark eyes for a matter of moments. Ant and Dec also forgot that the number 7 existed once they had come nose to wet nose with Hypnodog, just for good measure.
This has all, understandably, led to cries of Hypnodog being a fake. Lennon has denied this, saying that in order to really appreciate the world’s only canine hypnotist, you need to see Hypnodog live. No kidding.
The thing is, when Lennon walked onto the stage and introduced herself, she stated that she was a “comedy stage hypnotist”. If nothing else, this should serve as a big, red warning buzzer that this isn’t an act to be taken seriously. It’s a bit of fun, it’s fake, it’s just something to giggle at over your tea on a Saturday night.
Yet that’s not what Britain’s Got Talent is meant to be about. It’s for celebrating the incredible and often bizarre (real) talents of those who unicycle, rollerblade or juggle fire.
If Lennon developed the act to be purely comedic, there could be something in Hypnodog. But stating – with a straight face – that this bundle of black fluff really has otherworldly powers of hypnosis is truly a ‘talent’ too far for BGT.
But others have been won over as to Hypnodog’s powers. Twitter was divided as the show aired, with some dismissing the dog as a phoney and being amazed by her special skills. And isn’t the purpose of BGT to entertain us? Real or otherwise, there’s no denying that we were utterly glued to the screen as the little hairy Paul McKenna drooled and did her stuff.
But Simon Cowell’s verdict? “It’s just a dog with a huge tongue staring at me.” We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Photo credit: ITV Pictures / Thames / Syco / Tom Dymond