Former Britain's Got Talent semi-finalist Bellydancer
What does it feel like to perform live on Britain's Got Talent in front of the judges, a live studio audience... oh and 10million plus viewers?!
Here's what it was like when I was a BGT semi-finalist:
1) You have to perform to their choices of music: I was given three tracks to choose from to create a choreography for the show.
2) You only have a short rehearsal on stage/set: They give you a couple of sessions with a choreographer, and in my case they wanted buff men to perform with me, so I had to rehearse and meet them too.
3) You meet Ant & Dec beforehand but not the judges: Ant & Dec learnt all the contestants names and would mill around the studios before the evening show. And yes they are as friendly and supportive as they seem.
The judges stay in their dressing rooms until the show starts.
4) Changes are made right up until transmission time: At first I was going to fly into the stage using my Bellydance wings and then they decided I'd be carried on stage whilst lying on a Chez Long... But in the end I was just carried on (maybe my hips + Chez Long were too heavy).
Also I found out late in the afternoon that my music had been remixed for that evening's live TV show.
5) You spend most of your time in hair and make up:
Before BGT I had never used Hair
Extensions or stage make up. But they transformed my mane and face. They contour you more than all the Kardashians put together. I wasn't complaining though as it helped highlight/create muscles.
6) Costumes: You have a small budget to buy your own or have them made by BGT (and yes you can keep them). As I do a specialist art form, belly dancing, I bought my own hand made costumes from The Shimmy Shop and got to keep the two costumes (you have a semi-final costume and another one in case you get into the final show on the Saturday night).
7) The acts all get on sickingly well. Most of the time... 😁
We all got on like a house on fire as you're brought together by your random talents, interests and not to mention shared nerves. There's obviously a competitive edge too with some more than others.
We also all had to share dressing rooms. So I had Kate and Gin the dog sharing my small dressing room.
8) You queue up in the corridor waiting to go on and whilst you're stood there trembling you get to watch the other acts on live TV:
There's nothing more petrifying than waiting to go into a live "Lion's Den" unsure whether you'll be eaten alive or shielded. Fortunately for me it was the latter. Phew.
9) Simon Cowell is tiny but extremely nice and charismatic: Once I'd performed, I bumped into the very beautiful and friendly Amanda Holden and as I wanted to also meet Mr Cowell she took me into his dressing room.
He was sat in his dressing room with his entourage choosing sets for The X Factor. He asked for my opinion on the set designs. He also complimented me lots on my performance (I just melted).
10) Once you're out of the show you belong to BGT for several months: It was amazing to be part of such a big media machine and you're in their agency for a period of the time after the show so they take a slice out of everything you do because they gave you your moment in the spotlight.
Your business as a performer sure does boom after Reality TV as it gets your name out... For better or for worse...
BGT continues on ITV.
Follow Sophie on Twitter @SophieMei @Mei_Ltd.
Or go to BellydanceBySophieMei.com
And she blogs at mamamei.co.uk
Sophie Mei Lan