Britain's Got Talent 2018 kicked off with a bang tonight, as the first auditions saw a daredevil escapologist, a 10-year-old singer and a comedy inventor impress the judges.
The ITV talent contest may now be in its twelfth series, but it's as entertaining as ever, with the launch episode featuring some of the show's most horrifying, hilarious and heartwarming moments to date.
The dream team of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams are back behind the judges' desk, while ever-popular hosts Ant and Dec keep their beady eyes on proceedings from backstage.
As usual, all four judges and Ant and Dec can press the Golden Buzzer to automatically send their favourite acts straight through to the live shows.
For the first show, the panel ditched their posh chauffeur-driven cars and took the Tube to the London Palladium.
Among the contestants they witnessed were a Japanese variety act, two inspiring choirs, and the next generation of BGT favourites Diversity.
Read on for a rundown of the results…
Sascha Williams (4 yesses) - Circus performer Sascha’s cringeworthy introduction brought the mood down as he failed to engage with the judges. It’s just as well, then, that his act was one of BGT’s most high-octane displays ever, seeing him balance perilously on a growing tower of rolling barrels. David described it as “two of the most thrilling minutes” BGT has ever seen, while Simon called Sascha and his assistant fiancée Stephanie “nuts”.
DMU Gospel Choir (4 yesses) - This Leicester collective raised the roof of the London Palladium and had the audience clapping along with their medley of ‘I Will Follow Him’ and ‘Oh Happy Day’. “That was uplifting, joyful, powerful, heavenly,” praised Alesha, with Simon adding: “This is a time when you need this kind of positivity. It’s made me feel great.”
Robert White (4 yesses) - Comedy musician Robert made the judges cackle with a song that imagined them taking their computers in for repair. Lyrics included: “David Walliams wanted to update his content reminder, but when I looked all the contacts were from Grindr,” and “Simon Cowell’s Facebook was round the bend, it wasn’t broken, he’s just got no trends.” “Everything you said was hilarious, comedy flows from you like water,” reviewed David.
Calum Courtney (4 yesses) - 10-year-old Calum wants to follow in the footsteps of his West End performer nan by becoming a singer, and he did her proud with a crowd-pleasing performance of ‘Who’s Lovin’ You’. Simon was impressed, commenting: “You’ve got soul, you’ve got a very authentic voice, you totally controlled the song as well. This was special.”
Mr Uekusa (3 yesses, 1 no) - International variety performer Mr Uekusa gave us a fresh take on the classic tablecloth-and-dishes trick. It involved him stripping completely naked on stage and placing said tablecloth and dishes over his, er, you-know-what. Unsurprisingly, Simon couldn’t handle the bizarre spectacle and pressed his red buzzer - while David couldn’t get enough of it, cooing: “It was highly erotic.”
DVJ (4 yesses) - Almost a decade after Diversity won the third series of BGT, a new generation has entered the spotlight. DVJ (short for Diversity Juniors) is a crew of 10 to 18-year-old street dancers coached by their parent act's frontman Ashley Banjo, complete with two Perri Kiely lookalikes. Their audition was so good that Alesha got up to join in. "This competition is now on fire!" she exclaimed. "I can feel that you're all hungry. I love you."
B-Positive Choir (4 yesses) - As the name suggests, B-Positive is a choir with a message: it was put together by the NHS Blood and Transplant unit to encourage the public to give blood. All of the members either suffer from, or know someone who suffers from sickle cell disease. Their "soulful, honest, authentic" performance of Andra Day's 'Rise Up' triggered tears from Amanda, who explained: "I found the whole thing really moving because blood donors saved my life."
Marty Putz (4 yesses) - Canadian comedian Marty demonstrated his madcap inventions for the judges, but he didn't win over everyone, with Alesha pressing her red buzzer. However, that was before he brought out his masterpiece - a machine that covered Simon in toilet paper. "If I'd known you were gonna do that I never would have buzzed you!" added Alesha, who changed her mind and gave Marty a fourth yes.
Matt Johnson (4 yesses) - Escapologist Matt didn't exactly inspire hope before his death-defying stunt, revealing that his five prior attempts went more wrong than right. He was sealed in a water-filled tank, with a chain padlocked around his neck, and his hands cuffed together on the outside.
Matt had the judges on edge as he ran over his self-imposed 90-second time limit - but as the clock hit 2 minutes and 10 seconds, he finally managed to free himself from his confines. "It was horrific to have to go through it with you, but so exciting," said Amanda. "For a moment, I actually did think it was gonna go really badly wrong," added Simon.
Laura and Rich (4 nos) - Laura promised the panel a medieval style sword dancing act, but it consisted of little more than the pair shuffling about the stage clinking their swords. It wasn’t long before all four judges had hit their buzzers. “It was just a bit naff, wasn’t it?” remarked Alesha.
Julian Ellis (4 nos) - Farmer Julian convinced David to join him on stage, and transformed him in to a cow named Petunia by attaching an inflated pink rubber glove to his belly. When Julian said it was time to find Petunia a mate, the judges decided they'd seen enough and promptly buzzed him off. "If you're watching that all night, you go, 'this is the weirdest show I've ever seen'," commented Simon.
The Golden Buzzer
Marc Spelmann (Ant and Dec’s Golden Buzzer) - Magician Marc tugged at the heartstrings with a video revealing the moment he experienced 'real magic'. His newborn daughter Isabella survived chemotherapy after his wife was diagnosed with cancer during the pregnancy. The judges' emotion turned to awe as the clip went on to reveal that, months before the audition, Isabella accurately predicted the outcomes to all of the tricks Marc had asked them participate in.
"I have a feeling this act is gonna change your life," said Simon. "You have just taken magic to a whole new level," praised Alesha. There was no need for the judges to vote, however, as Ant and Dec soon emerged from the rafters to hit the Golden Buzzer. Congratulating Marc, Ant told him: "You had me in tears, that was remarkable."
Which of this week's acts was your favourite? Let us know by voting in our poll below!
Britain’s Got Talent 2018 continues next Saturday night on ITV with the latest auditions.
As always, straight after you can tune in to Britain’s Got More Talent on ITV2 with Stephen Mulhern.
The Britain's Got Talent live shows begin later on in the year.