'Britain’s Got Talent' Mom Laughs Off Fixing Allegations
Plus: Simon Cowell makes no mention of the online blog rumor at the show's semi-final Thursday night.
LONDON - There were no visible signs of anxiety as Simon Cowell took the helm at the live two-hour semi final of Britain's Got Talent Thursday night. The music mogul looked relaxed and back to his usual acerbic form - reducing one singing hopeful to tears and praising a series of other acts in the build-up to the all-important finale Saturday.
But behind the scenes, producers of the show have gone into overdrive to dismiss a damaging anonymous blog post claiming that the show was fixed, which has put the show's reputation under the spotlight.
Lawyers for Cowell have reported an offense of "malicious communication" to London police over a web posting claiming to be from a Sony TV insider, which alleged that the winner of Britain's Got Talent had been decided long before the auditions began this year, effectively rendering the competition which attracts thousands of hopeful entirely pointless.
The post, which has since been taken down, claimed that this season's show favorite, 12 year-old Ronan Parke, had been secretly signed to Syco for more than two years and had been prepped and styled to make him the runaway winner.
The memo said that Parke's parents had agreed for their son to be coached and styles by Syco execs back in 2009 and that they had played up his youthful look to tap the pre-teen market..
But Parke's mother Maggie has said publicly that the notion that the twelve-year old had been part of an elaborate fraud was "laughable."
"There is just no foundation in it whatsoever," she told the BBC, adding that the youngster had applied to the show on his own.
"It was just something that he really wanted to do. He felt it was the right time to apply and the first we heard of it was when we got a phone call saying that he had an audition."
Syco issued a statement denying all claims in the memo, and stating that the production company had no prior dealings with the 12 year old or his family.
"Ronan first came to Syco/Sony's attention when he entered this year's competition." Cowell's production company also said they woud "take whatever legal action is appropriate to prevent the further publication of these unfounded allegations."
Cowell, who has returned to the UK for the semi-final and finals of the talent competition, made no mention of the allegations on the Thursday night two-hour primetime show.