It has become the norm. Whenever anything is a bit out of the ordinary on Britain’s Got Talent, there’s a section of the audience that cries “set up!” In many cases this faction has a point. The producers of BGT clearly strategise about the way BGT auditions are presented. In the case of Woodcote Primary School P.E. teacher Felix Clements, the question that viewers raised was whether or not Clements knew that his students were in the audience, waiting to surprise him when he walked on stage.
If Clements did know, then his being “surprised” by the kids was blatant deception. Even if he didn’t know, the staging of the kids popping up from behind chairs was an emotional manipulation of the audience by the production team. But this is television for goodness sake. Of course, there is editorial and directorial input. The real question is how well did Clements perform when he combined interpretative gestures and dance moves with gymnastic feats to Balance by Lucy Spraggan. Let’s have a look:
Felix Clements was praised by the judges, received four votes to go through to the next round, and was swarmed by his pupils. He also received a lot of support on social media. Floatswithgoats commented on YouTube, “When you see children smiling like that at what he’s doing, you know he’s inspired them. Hope he goes far”. Donald Schmidt is even more emphatic: “It’s patently absurd that he didn’t receive a Golden Buzzer. His beautiful rhythm and coordination would make many gymnasts look clumsy”.
Predictably, some of the viewers who thought that the school kids being in the audience was a set up, were less enthusiastic. The Daily Mail quoted this tweet: “A teacher, his class in the audience, boring storytelling ‘dance’, of course they put him through”. I might agree that the storytelling wasn’t Clements’ strong point, but his timed acrobatic moves were definitely impressive and bringing a feel-good factor is a talent in itself. Let’s see Clements’ BGT 2023 semi-final performance:
The semi-final performance may have less acrobatics, but it’s a big step up in terms of staging. The incorporation of some of Clements’ pupils in a schoolyard setting was a great idea, and if Clements uses less gymnastics, he makes up for it with more body popping and breakdancing. The song is I Ain’t Worried by OneRepublic. Alas, Clements narrowly missed making it through to the finals.
25-year-old Felix Clements from Earley, Berkshire, was inspired to start dancing when he was eleven and watched the performances of Britain’s got Talent 2008 winner George Sampson. When he was a teenager, Clements regularly took part in street dance battles. In 2013, he won Bracknell’s Got Talent event. Even when he started teaching, Clements held onto his dream of becoming a professional dancer.
After his successful audition, Felix Clements told Fran Wilson of The Express that he had included a link to a YouTube video of himself dancing to This City by Sam Fischer in his BGT application. He added, “I was in a really good place with my job and I wanted to show the kids that they could really follow their dreams”. If you would like to see more from Felix Clements, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel.