Britain’s Got Talent have revealed a glimpse of the show’s new socially-distanced judging panel ahead of the first semi-final this weekend.
The new setup sees each judge placed on their own desks at least two metres apart to ensure the show is adhering to new safety guidelines during the COVID-19 crisis.
It comes just hours after it was revealed that Amanda Holden has been promoted to head judge in place of Simon Cowell, who will miss the pre-recorded semi-finals after breaking his back.
SPOILER: Britain’s Got Talent have revealed a glimpse of the show’s new socially-distanced judging panel ahead of the first semi-final this weekend
For the pre-recorded semis, Amanda, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams and new judge Ashley Banjo will be seated separately to adhere with strict new guidelines, with the shows also featuring a virtual audience watching from home.
As ever Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly will be hosting the show, with the pair forming their own ‘cohort’ meaning they do not need to stand two metres apart.
Amanda has also been promoted to head judge, and joked she’d be backing ‘musical theatre all the way,’ if she had to make a deciding vote.
New job! It comes just hours after it was revealed that Amanda Holden has been promoted to head judge in place of Simon Cowell
Simon, 60, was forced to pull out of BGT after breaking his back during a shock cycling accident, and has been replaced by Diversity star Ashley Banjo.
Following news of her promotion Amanda told MailOnline: ‘I will vote musical theatre all the way if I need to make a deciding vote!’
Sources also told The Sun that Amanda was the obvious choice for bosses to be head judge, given she’s appeared on the panel since the show’s inception in 2007.
An insider said: ‘It makes total sense for Amanda to be head judge with a deciding vote in a deadlock situation.
Exciting: The presenter has landed the position after Simon (pictured on the panel) was forced to pull out of the semi-finals following a bike accident which left him with a broken back
‘She’s the only one, other than Simon, who has been there since Day One and has seen it all.
‘She cannot wait for the responsibility boost and is certainly going to take it in her stride.’
MailOnline contacted representatives for Britain’s Got Talent for comment.
Sensational: Amanda told MailOnline she’ll ‘back musical theatre all the way’ if she has to make a deciding vote. She’s been on the panel since BGT’s inception in 2007
Amanda will join regular judges David Walliams and Alesha Dixon, alongside new judge Ashley on the panel for the first semi-final, which will air on Saturday.
For the first time in the show’s history, the semi-finals have been pre-recorded to accommodate new measures introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Simon was forced to pull out after breaking his back in a cycling accident, and after a six-hour operation has been recovering at home.
The music mogul has insisted producers have made the show the best it can be despite social distancing now being in place – and has even hinted he will indeed appear at the live final in October, despite being on bed rest.
Plans: The BGT 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
Asked ahead of the show’s semi-finals whether he worried the 2020 series was a right off, he said: ‘Yeah, for a moment! But then I thought, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!”
‘I just thought that if we can talk to each other all over the world on something like Zoom then there must be a way for us to do the live shows.’
Simon underwent emergency surgery in America after the accident in Los Angeles earlier this month, and has been recovering after having a metal rod installed in his back.
The BGT 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.
Standing in: Former BGT winner Ashley Banjo will sit in for injured Simon, after he was forced to miss the semi-finals to recover from his back injury
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 – with 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 a coveted role on The Royal Variety Performance.
Britain’s Got Talent returns on Saturday at 8pm on ITV.
It’s back? Britain’s Got Talent returns on Saturday at 8pm on ITV
BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT 2020: THE FINAL 40
GOLDEN BUZZER ACTS:
L-R: Fayth Ifil, a singing schoolgirl from Swindon. Fayth was Simon’s choice; Honey and Sammy, a mother/daughter singing duo from Essex. They were selected by Amanda
Sign Along With Us: This choir from Manchester were Golden Buzzed by David
L-R: Nabil Abdulrashid is a stand-up and was Alesha’s Golden Buzzer act; Jon Courtenay, a comedy musician from Manchester and a dad-of-two. He was chosen by hosts Ant and Dec
THE REST OF THE SEMI-FINALISTS:
SOS From The Kids: A choir of schoolchildren from Hampshire