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  • Writer's pictureJust Simon Cowell

Simon Cowell's Britain's Got Talent replacement judge announced

While Simon Cowell recovers from his broken back in Malibu a replacement judge was needed for Britain's Got Talent.

Simon had hoped to appear via video link, but as we reported yesterday, his doctor has advised him against this and he needs to put his recovery and health first.

Going the full circle, Ashely Banjo from the 2009 winning act Diversity is announced as Simon's stand in.

Simon told The Sun: “Ashley will be a fantastic addition to the panel. He knows the power of the show and the responsibility of it.

“I couldn’t think of a better person to sit in my seat whilst I follow doctor’s orders. I hate that stupid bike.”

Ashley says: “As if 2020 couldn’t get any crazier! It’s super humbling and super exciting! I remember being on that stage last year and talking about how it’s been ten years since we won, and how people should never tell you, you can’t do something. Walking on that stage as a 20-year-old street dancer from the streets of East London and now I am walking out there and stepping in for the big man! It feels really nice, almost poetic.”

Ashley and his dance troupe Diversity famously beat off favourite Susan Boyle to win Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 in front of a TV audience of more than 20 million people. Since then, Ashley’s career has gone from strength to strength - both performing and choreographing

Filming for the Britain's Got Talent semi-finals begins this Friday with a virtual audience.

This year’s BGT semi-finals will be very different, the inevitable result of Covid-19 and social distancing restrictions. The semi-finals, which had been due to be held in May, will now take place over five, nail-biting – and pre-recorded - episodes. The Final will then take place live in October.

AGT filming with a virtual audience

As usual, Ant and Dec will host the semi-finals whilst Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams will join Ashley at the judges’ desk. Eight contestants will perform in each semi-final and the judges will choose one act to go through. The second finalist will then be chosen via public vote when the episode airs.

With safety concerns paramount, some acts will take part remotely via video link whilst others will perform in the TV studio – though without a live audience. Instead, all acts will be watched by a virtual audience – with their performances live streamed into homes across the UK and the virtual audiences’ reactions then beamed into the studio on a giant screen.

The series will then culminate with the live final, in October, where one act will triumph as Britain’s Got Talent 2020 Champion and win the life-changing £250,000 prize plus that coveted role on The Royal Variety Performance. 

BGT returns to our screens on Sunday 30th August with a pre Covid recorded catch up episode and the judges deciding who will go through to the semi-finals.



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