A REVEREND turned Elvis impersonator from Throckmorton said he felt ‘bullied’ and ‘mocked’ for his faith when he performed at one of the country’s most popular talent shows.
Rev Andy Kelso, chaplain for Worcester Warriors, went to the Britain’s Got Talent auditions in Birmingham after being invited to take part in the hit ITV show.
The 67-year-old said he hoped the programme would give him the chance to show how much of an impact his Elvis act has made as he was notably part of a peace mission in Belfast.
However, as time wore on at the Birmingham Hippodrome Rev Kelso said he and his son had a feeling things were not going to go as they had planned.
Rev Kelso was finally called to the stage at 11pm – ten hours after he arrived at the venue – and he told The Observer that was where the “grilling” began.
“The trouble was by 11pm, the audience was getting tired, so it was like a big wind down.” he said. “But what I was not expecting was to be bullied by the panel.
“When I first came on stage with my Elvis costume, the audience went ‘wow’, so that was fine.
“But when I got in front of the panel, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell started to take the mickey out of me, saying ‘you’re the singing reverend are you’?
“I felt like they were mocking me as they were asking questions and trying to get the audience to laugh. This went on for about two minutes which was upsetting.
“I said to them that ‘I don’t know if you understand, but I felt what I am doing is a real call from God’. They then responded by saying ‘oh you have heard from God have you?’ Tell us what does he sounds
like’? ‘Does he sound like Simon Cowell’?
“It didn’t matter what I sang as I barely got going before Cowell pressed his buzzer and said ‘well reverend, God says no’. I said ‘no he didn’t actually’ as I didn’t want him to have the last word.
“When I came off the stage, I was pretty angry that I had been set up and I had wasted a whole day.”
Rev Kelso, who has been doing his Elvis act for the past four years, said the way he was treated
was “unacceptable” as he felt they were criticising his faith.
“It has re-opened ny eyes to some of the shallowness of television.” he added.
However, a spokesman for Britain’s Got Talent said: “We are sorry to hear that Andy was unhappy with how his audition went on the day.
“We would never seek to belittle anyone’s faith or bully them and we wish Andy all the best with his act in the future.”
Rev Andy Kelso at Britain’s Got Talent. (s)