Anorak | How Simon Cowell ‘Fixed It’ For Ronan Parke To Win Britain’s Got Talent: He ‘Signed’ In 2009

How Simon Cowell ‘Fixed It’ For Ronan Parke To Win Britain’s Got Talent: He ‘Signed’ In 2009

by | 2nd, June 2011

ROANAN Parke is the fey, coy, nice 12-year old singer who was told he’d be a huge star by Britain’s Got Talent judge Louis Walsh. Said Walsh:

Ronan Parke – remember that name. This kid is going to be a star.

Why would a grown man tell that to a child? The show relies on public votes and the judges’ preferences. There can be no guarantees. Can there?

Parke, who seems to have been professionally styled, is in the show’s final. Stardom is within his reach. The Sun says:

SINGING sensation Ronan Parke could make his first million by Christmas – after signing a six-figure deal for the Britain’s Got Talent Tour 2011. Ronan, 12, is also favourite to scoop the £100,000 prize in Saturday’s final after Simon Cowell called him the new Justin Bieber.

He tells the Star:

“I’m only 12 and thanks to Britain’s Got Talent I have been recognised and asked for pictures and autographs. But I don’t have a girlfriend and I’m quite happy singing.”

So. Is it a fix for Ronan Parke to win BGT? Does Parke have any famous connections?

The Parkes are close friends of the Gunn family, and Norwich City legend Bryan Gunn said yesterday the families were planning to get together to watch the show last night. He said: “A lot of the speculation in the press has been saying that the winner could come from one of the younger entries. Of course we all think it will be Ronan. He is always singing around the house at home and when the family go round to friends for lunch Ronan always gives us a medley of his favourite songs.” The former goalkeeper’s daughter Melissa helped Ronan to put together his application for Britain’s Got Talent, and Ronan’s older brother Declan is friends with Mr Gunn’s son Angus.

No great help there.

But what of the rumour that Parke was signed to Cowell’s label in 2009? A source claiming to be a Sony insider says Parke has been groomed for stardom. He is not the simple talented lad off the street. If you believe BMG records fixed it for Katie Waissel to get on the X Factor last year, you might believe this. The open letter 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.

Integrity..? What integrity? Is there integrity in being an anonymous whistleblower? The source goes on:

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.

Go on:

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.

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.

The source then alleges that Ronan is part of the alleged lie:

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!

Having accused the child of being a product of a Simon Cowell pop school and faking it, the source adds:

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.

Whether or not you believe that depends on whether or not you want to believe TV is the truth in a box, that the show is so tightly produced and that something based on the likes and dislikes of a fickle public can be so carefully planned. You might also believe that Simon Cowell wanted Spelbound to win in 2001, Diversity to win in 2009 – beating 12-year-old Shaheen Jafargholi – and Leon Jackson and Shayne Ward and  to win the X Factor.

If Parke did sign a contract in 2009, we should soon know about it. One thing is for certain: on the internet it is easy to start a conspiracy theory…


“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”

Oh, well…

Posted: 2nd, June 2011 | In: Key Posts, TV & Radio Comments (8) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink