‘Despot’s Got Talent’: Semi-final round-up

Stephen Hawes gives his take on the controversial latest round of the new and popular talent format

It was a tough week for the Despots through to the semi-final of this year’s DGT, with judges fighting over which acts should make it to the final showdown at the beginning of May.

Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump’s early-season alliance has been marred by controversial act Bashar al-Assad, whose throwback chemical weapons attack on his own people to the tune of ‘Singing in the Rain’ was described as “unprecedented” by the Trump team, but only given a three out of ten rating by the longstanding Russian judge. “I hoped to see something better after all the work I did with him during the judges’ houses stage of the competition,” Putin said, prompting boos from a notably hostile UN crowd. “He may be in trouble this week. Hopefully the television audience will vote him through, but we’ll be expecting something much better in the final. Perhaps a burlesque-dancer dog eating an Isreali flag whilst juggling fireworks?”

Meanwhile, Kim Jong-un has stepped forward as a potential winner with an expanded performance of his first audition act, missile testing that threatens South Korea and Japan with a rendition that almost brought newest judge Donald Trump to tears. “I love Jong-un’s work. The man has big, big, talent. A really bad dude.” Xi Jinping, normally the most reticent of the three judges, has also come out in favour of the North Korean tenor. “If there’s one thing we’re looking for on this show, it’s the threat of nuclear war. Today, you delivered. After years of encouragement, I am so proud of what you have done. Whatever happens in the competition, your future is sure to be glowing.”

The show’s creator, Simon Cowell, was asked in an interview with The Guardian about whether he thought that the show was encouraging false aspirations amongst its teenage viewers and threatening to throw the world into apocalyptic darkness.

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“Frankly,” he said, “I think that anyone who doesn’t realise that it’s all entertainment needs a reality check. And speaking of cheques, as long as the show makes enough for me to be frozen in a vat of champagne and hookers until the whole thing blows over, why would I really care?”

Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese break-dancer, has revealed that he believes that age has affected his ability to perform. His disappointing semi-final act was not well received by the judges and it is unlikely that he will progress to the next stage of the competition. Trump, who is appearing as a judge for the first time, has been an instant hit with viewers.

“His experience in other talent shows has been crucial,” said Elizabeth Smugridge, a TV critic for The Daily Telegraph, “As soon as the producers persuaded him to stop saying ‘You’re fired’ to the dictators, he was good to go. The man has all the charisma of a TV critic for The Daily Telegraph. A triumph!” His onscreen banter with established judge Vladimir Putin has become the stuff of legend.

Putin, a winner from the twelfth season of the show, famously used Crimean democracy to beat a live bear to death on stage as his final performance. Meanwhile, British prime minister Theresa May has announced that she is working on an appearing in next year’s series. “All the application form says I need to do is develop an isolationist, apathetic, cynical one-party state that doesn’t care about the lives of its ordinary citizens. Frankly, I would have expected getting on to the show to be a bit more difficult.”