If You Don't Like Michael McIntyre, You Won't Like Britain's Got Talent

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Throughout its reign, Britain's Got Talent has been dominated by one man: Simon Cowell. But all that’s about to change. When the fifth season starts this Saturday (ITV1, 8.20pm) the panel won’t include Cowell or his equally smug colleague Piers Morgan, who are both busy in the States. Instead, joining Amanda Holden for this year’s auditions are Baywatch alumnus David Hasselhoff and comedian Michael McIntyre.

While Hasselhoff may have more judging experience, thanks to his slot on America’s Got Talent, it’s McIntyre who’s taken Cowell’s head judge crown. As a stand-up comedian it’s in his nature to be the centre of attention, and it shows. The producers are obviously fans, as most of the time allocated to the judges is consumed by smart (and admittedly funny) remarks by McIntyre.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; McIntyre’s jokes are mainstream and unoffensive, and regular fans--of which there are many--will welcome his new material. He’s a natural with the live audience too, no doubt because he’s used to performing in front of a sold-out stadiums. One thing he’s not so polished at, however, is keeping an eye on the steady cam--often he’s seen slouching sideways in his chair, looking in the opposite direction to the screen. We’ll cut him some slack on that though, as it appears no one told him to look forward during filming; at this week’s BGT launch, he admitted he was surprised by the amount of times he looked sideways.

Unfortunately for those who aren’t fans of the funny man his demanding presence is likely to overwhelm. While Simon Cowell often divided viewers’ opinions, ratings suggest he rarely turned them off completely. We fear McIntyre’s Marmite appeal won’t prove so compelling--though we suspect those who tend to sneer at McIntyre's mainstream stand-up won't be tuning into BGT anyway.

What do you make of the new judging panel? Do they make you want to tune in/out?

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