25. Britain’s Got Talent 4.
It’s lovely walking out on that stage into the spotlight with thousands of people hidden in the dark. It feels totally natural and right. What an amazing experience! I’m not nervous at all which is very strange.
In bright lights at the front, David Walliams, Alisha Dixon, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell are sitting at the desk with the big red buttons. They all look very small and the women, perfectly smooth and made-up, look like dolls.
When I’ve visualized this (and I have, a lot – it’s been wonderful in dark nights when I couldn’t sleep) I’ve always focused on talking with Simon Cowell. That’s probably a bit silly because David Walliams is the comedian and Simon’s not at all likely to get someone like me. But that’s what I did. And that's what happened.
I liked him. I really did.
Now I can’t remember it word for word, but it goes something like this:
‘Hello,’ says Simon. ‘Who are you?’
‘I’m Maggy Whitehouse from Dartmoor in Devon, where the moor is currently covered in newborn lambs.’
‘Okay Maggy. Tell me something interesting about yourself.’
‘I’m an independent Catholic priest – and no, I’m not a bloke in drag. If I were, I’d have big hair and much better make-up.’
All four of them now are looking at me with open mouths right now. So I have time to follow the researcher’s advice.
‘And I once wrote a book about what would happen if the Messiah came to Earth today. And I wondered what kind of person he could most usefully be. And I thought Simon Cowell.’
Silence. Then David Walliams says, ‘More like the devil, surely?’
I answer that it’s a long book and it does have a twist.
Simon says, ‘Maggy, please would you send me a copy of that book?’
And that’s the moment when I knew why I am on Britain’s Got Talent.
There was more discussion about my being an independent Catholic priest. And some about what my ambition was – I said to be a successful spiritual comedian and Amanda said ‘that would be good.’
And then I did my act.
Which they didn’t like.
Yes, it was an awful moment when I had finished, the applause was dying down and I could see that none of the judges was clapping. However Simon was looking at me with great interest.
David, Alesha and Amanda all say ‘no.’ David gives me some constructive criticism – and says I’ve been going such a short time in comedy etc. etc. and that they all really like me, just not the act.
And then it is Simon Cowell’s turn. Now Simon can destroy an ego in five cutting words. That is a rather anxious moment.
He looks long and hard at me and says, ‘Well I'm the one going to heaven, so I’m going to say “yes.”’
Not a word of criticism. Not a word. Just 'yes.'
So I didn’t get through. Not by a long way. But I surprised Simon Cowell and he said ‘yes.’
I I have no idea what the other judges said to him afterwards. I have no idea if it will be televised. I was, obviously, disappointed that I didn’t get through – and that what the producers had genuinely thought was funny simply didn’t work on the night. One of them told me afterwards they were sure I'd go through. There’s lots to learn from that experience and I'm not entirely sure what it is, yet.
But I think I was there to talk to Simon Cowell.
If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.