A popular man-and-dog magic act who were runners-up in this year’s Britain’s Got Talent series have now been disqualified, following the discovery of unusual patterns of behaviour during their performance.
Russian Ivan Pavlov, 167, and his dog, Brutus, wowed judges and audiences with audacious tricks in which Brutus was seemingly able to perfectly predict the future. In cleverly choreographed role plays, Pavlov had played the role of a wacky lab assistant, who kept popping off the stage to rustle up a snack for his trusty dog.
‘They were superstars’, recalled judge Amanda Holden. ‘In the heats, Brutus seemed to have a sixth sense that his juicy steak and chips were coming, salivating and barking loudly a full minute before Pavlov brought in the meal. ‘Remember the semi-finals?’, reminisced Alesha Dixon. ‘I couldn’t believe it when Brutus sat up at the table, knife and fork in hand, nearly two minutes before Pavvy placed those Lincolnshire sausages in front of his drooling cheeks’. ‘And the final topped it all’, continued David Walliams. ‘When Brutus put on a napkin and pretended to read a drinks menu before Pavlov waltzed in with his lamb shank in red wine reduction… hilarious’.
Now, the St Petersburg pair have been disqualified amidst allegations that a complex signalling system may have been behind the dog’s predictive abilities. Rumours on social media suggest that Pavlov may have somehow used his lab coat in the heats to indicate when the dog should salivate. In the final, a bell ringing in the accompanying soundtrack appears to have been the trigger for the dog to drool and head for the table. Second place in the competition has now been awarded to the classical-singing group of helicopter pilots, Opera WingFree.
‘Listen, it’s a real shame ’, said head judge Simon Cowell. ‘Pavlov and his dog were great, which is why I gave them a thumbs up like I do automatically to every single act with any merit as they leave the stage’. Planned spin-offs from the duo, including a fitness DVD entitled ‘Pavlovian conditioning’ are now on hold.
‘We’ve won the 1904 Nobel Prize, and the Medal of Honour, but this would have meant everything to us’, said Pavlov in a statement. ‘I think everyone has overreacted though. I’m no expert, but our disqualification seems like a text-book knee-jerk reaction to me.’