Britain’s Got Talent star Danny Beard performed Holding Out For A Hero last night (25 May). But while he was hoping Simon Cowell would be his hero in the semi-final, he ended up being the villain in his story.
The cabaret star was buzzed during the performance by Simon, shocking the other judges Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams.
He ended up coming seventh out of nine in the voting.
Watch Danny’s performance last night here and read our interview with him below:
How have you been feeling?
I’ve not been home for ages! I’ve got my mum and dad to drive me back and we came back to Liverpool at about half 4 in the morning. It’s been great, I wish Simon hadn’t buzzed though. I get the show is panto but it was disappointing.
Simon buzzed Yanis Marshall, the gay dancer in heels, in the final two years ago. He’s buzzed other drag and cabaret performers before. Do you think he has a problem with gay acts?
I don’t think he has a problem, I just don’t think he gets [cabaret acts]. It’s not his world. When I first came out and did Rocky Horror, a lot of the comments were about my voice. As it was a musical, he could get it. It fit somewhere in his mind. Because I didn’t do a musical, he just didn’t understand it. After the night was over, he came up to me as said, “I’m really sorry, I just really wanted you to do a musical”. Because it wasn’t a musical, he just didn’t get it. I don’t think he’s got a problem. With his power, and position, I don’t think he could have a problem like that in public.
Were you disappointed with coming seventh last night?
No, as soon as he buzzed, that’s where I knew I’d come. He slated [impressionist] Darren Altman earlier in the week. I felt he really upped his game, he took a risk and he did something new. But because he slated him, the audience listened. Simon knows his power. So to actually beat Bollywood Fusion in the voting, who had great comments and I had been buzzed, I was really proud of myself.
How was the experience for you as a whole?
If I hadn’t had that buzz, it would have been 1000% positive. Realistically, it’s been phenomenal. I’ve had paparazzi taking pictures of me. I’m a cabaret performer, and my life is going up and down the country in bars and clubs performing in the drag scene and doing what I do. I’ve been given a platform, and I’m really very grateful. I’ve watched the comments and the performance back now, and I’m proud. I’ve been on such a journey. The nerves were crippling me before I performed. The voice coach said I could do it, and I did it.
Did they approach you to audition?
They did ask me to audition. They originally approached me for X Factor, and I said no, but they stayed in contact. It took a long time, but I thought BGT would be right for me. I went between doing it and not doing it. I know, without being cocky, I’m good at what I do. Even with the press reaction today, nobody’s said anything bad about my performance. There’s been some negative articles talking about how I broke down, but I’m really glad the singing went well.
Would you have done anything differently?
No, the producers suggested the song. I said no at first. I found the Shrek version, and I thought that could appeal to kids. We originally had glitter falling from the sky, that would have been great. But, I’ve said it before, I’ll probably never get to have a production that big again. The reality is people come and go on Britain’s Got Talent. I wanted to make it a big theatrical performance. I can’t afford 16 backing dancers. But that song is going into my act immediately and it’s going to be amazing singing it up and down the country.
What did you think of Simon calling ‘cabaret’ an insult?
Cabaret is a career. When Ant & Dec introduced me, they called me a cabaret artist. For him, it’s an insult because he comes from a record background. He sees it as a lower form of artistry. But it’s not to me, it’s my life. I make a good living doing what I do.
What were you thinking when you broke down in tears?
If I’m honest, I didn’t hear any of the comments. Watching them back, I wish I had taken a good breath and took a chance to listen. The comments were amazing, really. People constantly say when you go to the semi-finals, you’ve got to be different, you’ve got to be different to stand out. And there’s no denying I’m different, and I definitely upped my game. Drag queens have sung musical songs for years, so I didn’t want to do that. I’ve done myself proud. When I broke down, I felt humiliated on a public platform. I was upset. I was trying to hold it back, but I just felt humiliated. Now, a day after, I don’t feel humiliated. I had just overcome my nerves, I had belted out my song on live telly with these things in my ears. And then the X happened, and it was humiliating. All I could think was that I’ve been buzzed. I’m a cabaret artist that is just trying to get my act out there. And when Simon did that…I just didn’t think it was very nice. I get that it’s his opinion, I get that it was his comments and they were valid.
It didn’t read as you were humiliated to me. It looked like you were overcome?
I couldn’t spin it out that way, I’m an honest person. All I could think of was that I had just been buzzed. The amount of work I put in, rehearsing every week and meeting costume designers. I had a real input with the directive. The whole show’s been amazing, it’s only that one thing that has soured it for me.
How did you react to the comments on social media? Some were really great, some not so great.
It gets people talking, and questioning, and then it’s a good thing. Most of the comments I’ve seen, I’ve also seen people calling them out on it and defending it. Somebody called me a tranny, even though I’m not, but it doesn’t matter because someone posted a response challenging that. It’s educating. If someone can go on TV dressed in ridiculous clothes and crazy make-up and it leads to someone being educated, then I’ve done something great.
What’s next for you?
Well, Twitter and Lorraine Kelly want me to do Eurovision! I enjoy what I do and I enjoyed last night’s performance. I’ll carry on doing what I do. I’m a natural performer. Danny Beard is my own natural creation. Not to sound like every other X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent act who says this isn’t the last you’ve heard of me, but it’s true. I’ve working at Prides all over the country, and I’m working with the community. I’m ready for the next step. Whatever happens, it’s going to be fab.
UPDATE: Danny Beard has got in contact with us to clarify an answer. In response to the question about Simon having a problem with ‘gay acts’, he originally said Simon just ‘doesn’t get it’. He meant that he believes Simon doesn’t get cabaret acts, and not necessarily gay performers.