Celebrities & Upcoming Stars, Controversies

Britain’s Got Talent Hit By Controversy

June 4, 2011
Ronan Parke

12-year-old Ronan Parke, favorite to win the £100,000 prize in tonight’s final after Simon Cowell called him the new Justin Bieber, yesterday branded as “really silly” internet claims by a mystery blogger that he had been hand-picked and groomed by Simon Cowell to win Britain’s Got Talent.

Simon Cowell & Ronan Parke

The blogger, claiming to be an executive at Sony Music, had sparked an online frenzy by claiming Ronan had been secretly managed, coached and styled by Cowell for two years.

Ronan hit back: “I have not been coached by anyone to do with Simon. I have never met Simon in my life. I’d love to, but I never have. I have been coached by a singing teacher in Norwich that we pay for. No one’s paid for our clothes or anything. It’s really silly.”

In an extraordinary development, Cowell announced before last night’s live semi-final that he had something to say.

He told 12 million ITV viewers:  “There has been an allegation made on the internet that Ronan Parke had a previous record contract with my record label, that I’d met him beforehand, both of which are complete and utter lies. He’s just 12 years old and this is a deliberate smear campaign. It’s my job to make sure that this liar is exposed and this kid is treated the same as everyone else and the public will decide.”

The allegations have prompted  Cowell’s lawyers going to a West London police station to report an offence under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 which states it is a criminal offence to cause distress with information known to be false – punishable with up to six months in jail.

Cowell’s company Syco has earlier on issued a statement stressing: “There has been speculation on the internet that Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ronan Parke was known to and worked with Syco/Sony Music before entering the show. There is no truth in this story whatsoever. Ronan first came to Syco/Sony’s attention when he entered this year’s competition. Syco/Sony Music will not hesitate to take whatever legal action is appropriate to prevent further publication of these unfounded allegations”

Last night a show insider said: “We think we know who has done this. It was a nasty and spiteful thing to do.”

A source said: “These are cruel lies about a child pursuing his dream.”

Another source said: “It is disgusting to be so cruel to a 12-year-old child. The hunt is on for this person.”

A BGT spokeswoman said: “The welfare of our contestants is paramount. We will not tolerate bullying of any kind.”

Louis Walsh, who put Ronan through when he stood in as a judge, insisted: “I just picked the kid because he was the best on the day.

“Someone is trying to stop him from winning the show.

“I’ve worked with Simon for eight years and he is totally by the book. He would never even try anything like this.”

Walsh made the comment “Ronan Parke – remember that name. This kid is going to be a star” when he put Ronan through.

A senior source on the show revealed: “It looks like one individual with an axe to grind. We’re hoping the police will be able to make an arrest soon and bring this malicious liar to justice.”

Ronan gave a stunning performance on Monday night when he topped the public vote with his rendition of Make You Feel My Love, winning himself a place in tonight’s live final.

Ronan’s mother Maggie, 52, has also dismissed the claims that he was auditioned by talent scouts who had spotted him performing at a birthday party for family friend Bryan Gunn, the former Norwich City goalkeeper.

She said: “I am really angry. Ronan has worked so hard to get where he is.”

“It’s laughable, to be perfectly honest with you, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s no foundation in it whatsoever.”

Singing teacher Kay Webber, who has been giving Ronan £15 half-hour lessons for 2½ years, added: “There was never any suggestion of him going on Britain’s Got Talent last year or the year before.”

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed: “An allegation of malicious communications was made to Kensington and Chelsea police on Thursday, June 2.”

Officers around the world are now said to be working on the investigation, including a crack digital surveillance team in Germany where the website containing the claims was hosted.

Insiders fear the blog – read by more than a million people before legal teams acting for Sony Music forced the website’s hosting company to remove the posting- is part of a hate campaign to derail Ronan’s chances in tonight’s final.

The blogger’s alleged that Ronan’s hairstyle, clothing and mannerisms have all been choreographed.

The blog post by the mystery blogger goes like this:

For reasons which will become obvious, I can’t reveal my full identity. But let me just say that, I am an executive with Sony Music UK with many years experience in music management [sic]. My work involves close liasion with Simon Cowell’s SYCO company (specifically SYCO Music and SYCO TV) and, as a result, I have seen what goes on from the inside and this has left me increasingly uncomfortable about the integrity of Britain’s Got Talent and particularly the workings of SYCO.

Scouts working for SYCO first saw Ronan Parke (the 12 year old singer) some two years ago when he was just 10 and was singing at a birthday party for former Norwich City goal-keeper, Bryan Gunn. Following that, Ronan was privately auditioned by SYCO scouts on two more occasions and, as is usual practice on BGT, he was “invited” to audition for the show as a “preferred” contestant. At the same time, Ronan and his parents were “required” to enter into a contract with SYCO…

As is common for “invited” contestants that SYCO likes and have already signed, Ronan and his parents were provided with a car to drive them to the audition in London. These “invited” contestants don’t have to queue up with everyone else, they don’t go through the preliminary auditions with producers, but perform straight to Simon and the judging panel at a pre- arranged time-slot. And so it was for Ronan back in 2009 when he was just 10.

It was at this initial audition that I first met Ronan and he looked very different back then. He was a skinny, 10 year old lad who, even at that time, was a bit effeminate. His voice needed a bit of working on, but that wouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, nerves got the better of Ronan and he was unable to perform. Simon however, had already seen the audition tapes from the scouts and took Ronan into an unused dressing room and got him to sing in there with his mum for support. Clearly Ronan was not going to be part of BGT in 2009 and nothing from this was ever televised.

Ordinarily, you would think that would be the end of things, but with Ronan already signed to SYCO, far from it. This was just the start of a two year grooming and manipulation process to prepare Ronan for stardom…

A development package, which included professional singing, dancing and stage-craft tuition was arranged for Ronan and the SYCO machine kicked into gear with the view of Ronan entering BGT 2010. Lots of work had been done with Ronan and his voice was much improved, unfortunately nerves were still a major issue for him and it was decided by SYCO not to enter him into the 2010 series.

At a following senior exec meeting at SYCO it was suggested that Ronan be dropped, but with Simon confident that he could be the kid he had been looking for, it was agreed that Ronan would receive “intensive support and input” to ready him for the 2011 series. Although Ronan’s voice was now stunning, there were other major problems to be dealt with in order to sell him to the public. With respect to Ronan, he was nothing more than a cooky-looking, skinny runt of a kid and this was identified as a major handicap to sales.

It was agreed at a high-level, secret SYCO meeting, that if they were to do anything with Ronan, he needed totally restyling from the toes up. And so with time running out to develop Ronan into the star Simon wanted, SYCO went into overdrive. Ronan was even given speech and elocution training to rid him of his rural Norfolk accent, again in preparation for the potential US market. As for his effeminate and girlishness, this posed a bigger problem and resulted in many highly confidential meetings. At one of these meetings, the unthinkable was raised as a way forward….

Until now Ronan had been encouraged to “boy-up” and it was planned to present Ronan as an everyday skater-boy. But with his girliness still showing through, the image just wasn’t believable. So a decision was taken to encourage and allow Ronan to “release” and enhance his campness. Disgustingly, SYCO planned to sexualise him. They were well aware of course, that if they sexualised a young girl to look sexually older than she is, all hell would let loose. But with Ronan, as one executive put it, “no one has ever seen a ‘gay’ kid before, it’ll be a novelty.” As for the pre-teen market, it was accepted they wouldn’t care if Ronan appeared gay or not…most probably don’t know what gay is anyway. And so, with a total gay- sexualisation of Ronan secretly planned, SYCO got to work. I should stress, Ronan’s parents were not aware of any of this and were never consulted about Ronan’s development or management. When I first met Ronan he was a bit effeminate in his ways, but nothing like the camp, girlie-giggling kid you see now on BGT and this is a direct result of SYCO’s styling. Even his clothing worn at the audition and live semi-final were chosen for him by SYCO to match his new image.

Ronan Parke

SYCO took over everything to do with Ronan. His hairstyle, his clothes, his poise, giving tv interviews, you name it, Ronan was styled within an inch of his life and all on the promise of stardom, just as long as he worked hard and listened to his mentors. As for Ronan’s parents they were constantly reassured that Simon was personally looking after Ronan and “it’s all good”.

And so to BGT 2011. With Ronan ready to be unveiled, SYCO bosses, under instructions from Simon did something not done in previous series of BGT; the winner of BGT 2011 was decided long before the first auditions took place and that winner HAD to be Ronan Parke. With Ronan now 12, he looked and sounded just as SYCO had planned, but time was running out. Soon Ronan would be going into puberty and his voice would eventually break, so BGT 2011 had to be the vehicle to launch Ronan’s career; another year and as a singer he would probably be beyond any meaningful career and the opportunity will have been missed. With all this investment in Ronan, the production managers at SYCO TV are ready to deliver Ronan as ordered. Again, I need to stress, Ronan and his parents know nothing of this and have no idea Ronan will win BGT this weekend.

So far in the history of BGT and X-Factor, for that matter, no one has ever won who has not been an “invited or preferred” contestant, and it does sadden me that, all those thousands of people, lining up outside, often in the rain and cold, are basically wasting their time. The producers of BGT are not looking for the talented people, they aready [sic] have those. The reality is that the producers are hunting out oddities, freaks and, I’m ashamed to say, mentally ill people, to act as amusing fillers in the audition shows. They are nothing more than unpaid extras and they don’t even qualify for traveling expenses! It’s quite disgusting and shameful really, how the production team on BGT operate.  People come from all over the country, often at  great personal expense, because they think BGT is a talent competition and they stand a chance of realising their dreams.  I can tell you from the inside that BGT is no more a  “competition”, than I am an astronaut.  Nothing is left to chance on BGT, everything is micro-managed, choreographed, manipulated and planned down to the last detail including, the telephone voting.

The micro-management of Ronan’s audition performance was incredible.  I was really quite shocked at his new image.  From a starting point of wanting Ronan to look cute for the pre-teen  market, SYCO had totally gayed him up in the process.  Ronan’s not a 16 year old expressing his sexualty for the first time, he’s a 12 year old boy.  It was horrible and I was very  uncomfortable as to where this was going to end.  Ronan, still suffering from nerves, performed his song and received a standing ovation from all three judges…why?  Because it was in  the script to give Ronan a standing ovation.  As for Louis comment. “Ronan Parke.  Remember that name.  This kid’s gonna be a star!!” – that was actually fed to him from the production  gallery and I know the guy who wrote the line.

And when it comes to Ronan’s tears…well, check it out on YouTube or something.  You see Ronan crying and wiping away tears.  Only  you don’t see any actual tears, not even on close-up and on an HD tv.  Yep you guessed it, even that was choreographed, right down to the lip-biting!

I’ve met Ronan a few times over the past couple of years. He’s a really nice kid with a generous, warm personality and the most wonderfully cute, girlie-giggle. There’s nothing to not like about Ronan. He’s a really sensitive soul and this comes across as him being a bit effeminate. But in a world of thuggish chavs, Ronan’s a real breath of fresh air really and a real delight to chat to. Do I think Ronan’s gay? No, is the short answer to that. SYCO have got a lot to answer for in their initial styling and image for Ronan. Like many 12 year old boys, Ronan may have issues in coming to terms with his sexuality in a couple of years. But right now, he’s just a great kid…a bit different, I admit…but a great kid just the same.

The anonymous blogger alleged that:

1. 12-year-old Ronan will ‘definitely’ win the talent contest on 4 June 2011.

2. Ronan has been ‘groomed’ by Cowell since 2009.

3. Ronan was spotted two years ago, aged ten, when he sung for Norwich City goalkeeper Bryan Gunn at a party.

4. Ronan was seen by top executives as being Britain’s answer to Justin Bieber.

5. Ronan was ‘invited’ to auditions with Simon – There was “a two-year grooming and manipulation process to prepare Ronan for stardom.”

6. Louis Walsh’s comments – ‘Ronan Parke. Remember that name. This kid’s gonna be a star!’ – were scripted.

7. His image was made to be ‘camp’.

8. Ronan’s parents did not know about the ‘manipulation’.

Do you believe this mystery blogger? I feel that Ronan is innocent. He is a talented, there’s no doubt about that.  If he wins tonight, I believe he deserves it.

Ronan Parke

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1 Comment

  • Reply LSpeight June 5, 2011 at 6:39 am

    To see the lies about “fixing” and the predictions about this child’s sexuality disgusts, infuriates and sickens me in the extreme. For heaven’s sake – he’s 12! Can you imagine what it must be like to be 12 and read such comments? Jealousy always did fuel the school bully…and it is clear that some bullies just never grow up. Some people in this country need to hang their heads in guilt and shame!

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