In an exclusive interview with TV Times, judge Amanda Holden reveals how this year’s Britain’s Got Talent is not for the faint-hearted…
Get ready for all manner of amazing singers, entertaining pets, death-defying stunts and everything in between… as Britain's Got Talent is back! Once again, judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon have travelled across the UK on the hunt for the most talented performers Britain has to offer.
The first day of auditions at the London Palladium sees the return of a familiar face, as Ant McPartlin re-joins Declan Donnelly as the show's co-host.
Dec fronted last year's BGT live shows alone as Ant took time out from his presenting duties for personal reasons. And he's obviously been missed as he's introduced by his pal Dec and walks out onto the stage at the London Palladium to a standing ovation from the crowd.
"Oh God, I'm really, really emotional now. I've missed you all," says Ant, fighting back tears, as Dec hugs him. "What a lovely welcome! What a great show to come back to. I'm thrilled, I'm over the moon. Shall we crack on before I cry?"
With the judges in their seats, it's time for the first lot of acts to take to the stage to show everyone why they think they've got what it takes to follow in the footsteps of last year's winner, comedian Lost Voice Guy, and bag the £250,000 cash prize and a spot at this year's Royal Variety Performance.
And, as judge Amanda Holden, 48, exclusively tells TV Times, this series is well and truly spook-tacular…
Now in its 13th series, BGT still seems to be as popular with viewers as it's ever been. Why do you think that is?
Amanda Holden: "The show entertains the whole family. What can't you love about that? It's for all generations and all ages. I really think it's the heart of Britain."
David won the National Television Award for Best TV judge again earlier this year… has he been winding Simon up about it?
AH: "We all wind Simon up but David enjoys it the most! David now has four statues under the desk and he brings them out all the time to wind Simon up. Personally, I think he should bring them out more often because he needs to work on his muscles – they’re going a little soft!"
Have there been any major disagreements between the panel this series?
AH: "Boringly no. We’ve all been on the same page this year with what we're looking for. By total chance, things have gone a little supernatural. It's amazing television and I can’t wait to watch the auditions back as the nation watches, too."
We know Simon really loves stunt acts… has anyone really put you on the edge of your seat this series?
AH: "Oh my God… there was this female magician who scared the life out of me! She had me down in the underbelly of the London Palladium and it was so scary. The act was horrifying and being down in the basement of the theatre where I’d never been before, despite all my years performing there, it was truly terrifying. The Palladium is a majorly haunted theatre so I’m like: ‘Who else is floating around? Don’t touch me!’ I won’t give too much away about what she did, but I can confirm I was genuinely terrified."
We often see you get very emotional on this show. Which acts have made you tearful this year?
AH: "I've felt more scared this year than tearful. Literally, I've been scared for my life with some of the auditions. It's taken me completely out of my comfort zone. I've never felt fear like it, probably since the last time I watched the horror film Saw!"
What can you reveal about your Golden Buzzer act? And what can you tell us about the other Golden Buzzer act?
AH: "I don't overthink the Golden Buzzer too much as I try to go with my instinct. This year, I've gone for something that I think younger people will really enjoy and I hope they vote! Alesha's Golden Buzzer act could possibly win the series."
From what you've seen this year has Britain STILL got talent?
AH: "YES! 100 per cent. Britain is never going to run out of talent and we need to celebrate it as much as we can. People who were 10 years old when the show first started are now 23, so we've got a completely new generation of talented people who are ready to perform in front of an audience."
What do you most look forward to about the BGT live shows?
AH: "I really look forward to the live shows as the family comes together again. It's brilliant we're back at the Hammersmith Apollo for the live shows, as I think it feels more magical. Of course, another highlight for me is the frocks…"
Are you always surprised by the stir that some of your outfits cause on Twitter?
AH: "I'm aware not many TV shows would allow me to have so much fun with my wardrobe, so I make the most of it! I can't please everyone; there will always be different opinions, but I love getting dressed up!"
Speaking of social media, your version of Tightrope from The Greatest Showman went crazy on Instagram. Is there an album in the works?
AH: "The video was a special moment for the three of us girls [Amanda sang with her daughters Lexie, 12, and Hollie, six] to celebrate my husband Chris’s birthday. It’s taken me by surprise the number of record deal offers that have been thrown at me since, as I’ve always sung on stage throughout the years. It’s been a childhood dream of mine to release an album, so perhaps one day soon it will become a reality."
Britain's Got Talent, with Amanda Holden, returns on Saturday April 6 at 7.15pm on ITV.
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