Britain’s Got Talent fans in the U.K. are royally ticked off at the moment. An uproar has followed the show’s finale, which named a dog trainer as the winner. But viewers felt cheated and deceived when they learned she used a doggie double, the Associated Press reported.
The final act — which is adorable — featured a border collie named Matisse on stage with trainer Jules O’Dwyer. In the skit that has caused such an uproar, Jules dressed as a policewoman, chasing after the pooch after he stole some sausages from a butcher, the Independent reported. The three-legged Skippy also had a role.
As part of the act, he walks a tightrope between two windows — very carefully — as part of an escape plan, then emerges back on stage after the impressive trick to hide his guilty snout in a safety cone.
Views were so impressed, they voted for Jules to win the top prize — $383,000. But then the truth was revealed: it wasn’t Matisse after all, but a body double — stunt canine, Chase.
And the uproar ensued.
— Tyrone Raymond (@Tyrone_Raymond) June 1, 2015
Can't believe the Britain's Got Talent winner used a stunt dog in their performance Can I just send in Prince to sing for me on X-Factor?
— Lukehoostawking (@LukeHoosTawking) June 1, 2015
Britain's Got Talent winner 'used stunt dog double' to walk the tightrope. Soo literary they cheated….. #CHEATER!!!!!!
— JONATHAN M. MELLOR (@JonathanMellor) June 1, 2015
But before you join in the tumult — which included over 200 calls to the station that aired the show — there are a couple things to consider. First of all, think of Matisse. While obviously a genius and very talented, he just wasn’t cut out to perform the entire trick.
“Matisse is a little bit afraid of heights so, although he could physically do it, Chase is the (one) who says ‘I’m the action dog’. He plays the double for him. Every dog has a different character.”
And who wants to force a doggie to face his greatest fear? He did a great job, regardless of whether he actually walked the tightrope.
But then there’s this — O’Dwyer never really pretended she only had one performing doggie and that doubles weren’t part of the act. The audience actually was informed that she used a team of talented pooches and her semi-final actually included the stunt pooch, a spokesman pointed out.
“During the competition viewers have seen that Jules’ act involves a team of dogs, including Chase and Skippy, alongside … Matisse, to perform her unique mixture of … agility and story-telling. We are sorry if this was not made clearer to the judges and viewers at home during their final performance.”
And that’s the sticking point that has caused such an unmitigated uproar: lack of clarity. According to the Daily Mirror, the station has admitted to some slight of hand with the finale, and called the doggie stunt double a “judgment call.”
But the station is not supposed to “materially mislead the audience” about any “broadcast competition or voting,” the Guardian added. Two-hundred people, at least, are in such an uproar they called to complain, but whether it’s enough to launch a formal investigation remains to be seen.
At the end of the day, O’Dwyer simply gave the audience a great show. And Matisse, his doggie double, Chase, and Skippy did a phenomenal job. Let’s just applaud them for doing some amazing tricks.
[Photo Courtesy Twitter]