Britain’s Got Talent returns to our TV screens this Saturday night and in the interview below, judge and new mum Amanda Holden chats about what it’s like to have Simon Cowell back and who her favourite BGT act of all time is….
How has it been to have Simon back? Have you missed him?
I have missed him but I don’t want to confess I’ve missed him! I’d like to say that everything carried on just fine without him but I did miss
him. I completely missed the naughtiness and the pig-tail pulling and the laugh that you have when he’s around. He’s wicked – I don’t mean in the cool sense but in the evil sense, and I find that really amusing. It really appeals to my sense of humour. It’s fantastic to have him back. I always used to call him Darth Vader but this year I called him Voldemort as he was particularly evil.
How has it been with the two new Judges, Alesha and David?
I’ve loved it. I had no clue what it was going to be like as I’d only met them both briefly in the past. I knew I’d like Alesha because she was always really bubbly and warm when I’d met her before. We get on really well, she’s like me, she’s girly, fun and feisty. She knows all about the cool stuff like rap, street and urban music, whereas for David and I, it’s not really our area of expertise, so we turn to Alesha for a reference on whether it was good or not. I didn’t know David before the show or what sort of Judge he would be but he is excellent. He’s taken to it really quickly and he’s really witty and completely understands the job in hand. It’s funny because he goes from doing loads of camp gags to then really serious judging. He’s got an excellent poker face too. You really can’t tell what he’s thinking sometimes.
Did you pass on any tips to them?
I told them what Simon said to me in the very beginning and that was just say what you’re thinking. Just be as natural and normal and honest as you possibly can be and don’t over think stuff. Just be yourself. They’ve completely done that. David said to me, ‘what is Simon like, what do you think I could get away with?’ so I told him that I thought he had a really good sense of humour but not to push it as Simon is the boss after all. David
completely ignored me and did jokes on whatever he wanted to. He was just outrageous and hilarious. I don’t know how he gets away with it. Where I sit at the desk I can see Ant & Dec standing in the wings and on several occasions we were just left gasping at some of the stuff David was coming out with but Simon was in stitches, and I mean proper belly laughs and snorts.
You’ve been on BGT right from the start, who’s been you’re favourite act of all time and why?
This is a no brainer; my favourite act of all time is Stavros Flatley. I still can’t get over the surprise element of their act. It was just brilliant. Their audition just made me so happy. I was bursting with laughter and joy. I’ve since hired them for weddings and family parties, I just love them!
What I also love is that after they have performed, they hand out business cards for their electrician company, so I might use them when I’m having the cottage done up, but only if they come in their stage outfits.
What do you think of the talent this year?
I think it’s really strong. The deliberation day was really tough this year, we just couldn’t decide who to put through as there was so much choice. We were overwhelmed with talent. I normally I have a dead cert winner in my head, but this year there are definitely three that I think could win.
Without giving too much away, what have been your audition highlights?
This year there was a group of people that passed my goose bump test with flying colours. If I get goose bumps during a performance it’s usually a really good sign. We’ve certainly never had an act like this on the show before and they gave me that feeling in my tummy that I always get when I think I’ve seen a winner.
And the low points?
I think I’ve seen enough of street dancing. Diversity and Flawless had such a wow factor, which they still have now, and they make everything they do really inventive and exciting. They set the bar really high and a lot of the dance troupes we’ve had on the show since just don’t live up to the expectations we now have. These street dance groups come on and say they’re going to be amazing and unique and they’re often not. It’s frustrating when we see great dancers, doing a routine that someone else has choreographed. What makes the likes of Diversity and Flawless so fantastic is that their work is so organic; it all comes from within the group. There isn’t a teacher telling them where to stand or what to wear. It’s not cool, it’s not what I want to see at all. Bring back lycra and sequins, I want more of that!
What are you most looking forward to with the live shows this year?
What David is going to say to Simon! The live shows can’t be stopped, they can’t be edited. There will be no going back. I love the live shows; you have to think on your feet. I think the live shows will be bigger and better than ever before too. There’s more at stake with the prize money raised so I think all the acts will up their games – bigger performances, better costumes, bigger staging, better props. I can’t wait!
Do you worry about finding the right winner each year for The Royal Variety Performance?
I do take it very seriously. It’s a very special year for the Queen with her Diamond Jubilee so I want to find the best act yet. I want the winner to wow everyone and for people to say ‘you could have only found something like that on Britain’s Got Talent’. BGT is a family show so I want to find an act that will appeal to the whole Royal Family. I want Kate and William to enjoy our act as much as the Queen will. I know they all watch the show, I’ve asked them!
What kind of act would you like to see win this year?
We’ve had dancers, we’ve had singers, so I would like to see someone or something win the show that we’ve never seen before.