I must admit that when I was first elected I knew that the role of a Member of Parliament is varied and interesting. I never thought it would lead to me auditioning for Britain’s Got Talent.
It all started when I was asked by a constituent to sing at a Nepalese Community event in Colchester. Following a tweet about the event, I was challenged by another constituent on Twitter to enter a TV talent show in return for a £250 donation to a charity of my choice. I rather flippantly replied “make it £1,000 and we may have a deal” not thinking at the time that any more would come of it.
To the constituent’s credit, he accepted the challenge, set up a crowd-funding page and promptly started raising the money. With donations coming in from across Colchester, I saw the total rise and rise until it dawned on me that I was actually going to have to enter. Sure enough, he raised over £1000 and being a man of my word, I agreed to fulfil my part of the deal and enter Britain’s Got Talent.
At this point the local media picked up the story and advertised the fact that I would be entering the show. At first I wondered how my constituents would feel about it and whether they would approve. The response came as a huge surprise, I actually had messages via email, on social media and comments in person willing me on and saying how much they were looking forward to seeing it on TV. Perhaps I underestimated the people of Colchester; after all, it’s good publicity for Colchester and ultimately it’s a bit of harmless fun and all in aid of local charities.
Working out what to do wasn’t hard. I have always enjoyed singing and it is one of my hobbies. Over the past few years I have been invited to sing at a number of charity concerts in and around Colchester and I find it a great release from politics and a way of showing your constituents that there is more to you than just the day job. Although I was in a choir at school, I haven’t been trained and consider myself to be very much a keen amateur. I chose two musical theatre songs for the audition as I am passionate about our creative industries and theatres, and earlier this year even held a debate in Parliament on the importance of regional theatre.
The time to audition came this week when the Britain’s Got Talent scouts came to Colchester as part of their national open audition tour. It was tricky as I was in Parliament that day but the auditions were open until 10:00pm. I hot footed it back from London to Colchester and made it just in time to audition. Although this was not in front of the celebrity judges, it was still a nerve-wracking experience, as a number of local residents and the local press had come along to evidence that I had actually gone through with it. There is even video evidence now online.
I sang “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables and following that they asked for a second more upbeat song so I sang “On The Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady. Both seemed to go down well and following a few quick questions on camera such as “why do you want to win Britain’s Got Talent?” and “what would you do with the money?” I was free to go. I now have to wait until the end of the year to hear whether the producers feel I have made the grade to audition in front of the celebrity judges ahead of the show being aired in March.
If you are wondering how I answered those questions then I’ll give the game away. Although I consider it extremely unlikely that I will get any further in the competition, it has been a fun experience and we have raised over £1,000 for charity. If, and it is a big if, I progress any further in the competition then of course it would be an incredible honour to perform in front of Her Majesty The Queen at the Royal Variety Performance and, as this has always been about raising money for good causes, if by some miracle I won, the £250,000 would be donated to charity.
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