Tuesday 20 February 2018

Talking dogs and kids with Samurai swords - 20 things to expect from the new series of Britain's Got Talent

Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Britain's Got Talent returns to TV3 this Saturday at 8pm (April 11) and judges Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon, and presenters Ant and Dec, and Simon Mulhern have the lowdown on what to expect...

From a talking dog to a Samurai sword-wielding little girl to a woman who plays keyboard on an ironing board, there's something for everyone this series.

Contestants get properly GRILLED - if they got divorced, Simon wants to know why

"I do ask a lot of questions because they are people rather than acts, if that makes sense? If you just take it at face value that someone's going to sing or do a magic trick, I think that's boring. I'm really interested in the contestants, why they have come along, why have they waited so long, what's happened in their life.

Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams and Simon Cowell are all back for the new series of Britain's Got Talent (Syco Entertainment/ITV)
Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams and Simon Cowell are all back for the new series of Britain's Got Talent (Syco Entertainment/ITV)

"I suppose I am quite nosey! So if someone is divorced I want to know why. I think the public at home feel the same way. Sometimes when you ask these questions you really get to know whether the person is sincere and whether they are serious about this - and so it helps me make a decision. Actually, if you like the person before they have performed then they stand a better chance.

Simon won't tolerate any more Ed Sheeran wannabes

"I had a particular thing about too many people coming on and playing their guitars. I'm literally becoming allergic to them because they all sound the same and they all think they are going to be the next Ed Sheeran. But all they have ever done is play the guitar in their bedroom so when you put them on stage they just can't perform."

Dec acts as interpreter for a Geordie contestant

Britain's Got Talent is on the way back: Alesha Dixon, Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Amanda Holden
Britain's Got Talent is on the way back: Alesha Dixon, Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Amanda Holden

"There was a bit of the act’s explanations that were getting lost in translation so I had to come out and act as his interpreter. I think I did quite a good job, I think Simon was pleased in the end! However, I don’t think he was the winner!

A little dog takes a massive dislike to Ant

"It kept disrupting the act and running back off stage to nibble my ankles. There was no reason why it hated me more than anyone else, but he clearly didn’t like me, I don’t know why.

There's a talking dog

"We have a got a dog that hypnotises people, a little girl who does martial arts and went on stage with a samurai sword - not the kind of things you see every day! We’re constantly surprised," says Ant.

Ant and Dec press their Golden Buzzer for a dance act

Ant says, "They are obviously very talented and great dancers, but it was the way the audience reacted to them. They really loved them. They got involved and went along with it, they got a lot of screams."

Dec adds, "There was just a good feeling about them - they are young, they’ve put a lot of work into it and they’ve got talent."

There's another great opera singer

"There’s a young opera singer who went down really well, so she’s one to look out for too," says Ant.

Simon will be taking note of all criticism of the show

"You get tough skin when you do this job. I can still remember the very first review we received on Britain's Got Talent when we first launched. I think the show was first launched on a Monday night and I got a call saying: 'You better see this review that's just been posted'. It was unbelievably bad and it said that it was the end of my career and the biggest mistake ITV had ever made! Then the ratings, thank God, came in and they were good. From that point on you have to take it on the chin when people criticise you. Sometimes the criticism can be good. I really do read the stuff and analyse it. If they are all saying the same thing then maybe we have to change a few things. But it is the public that really matters.

There are singers to rival X Factor

"It's interesting because, even though we produce both shows, they have a massive rivalry with each other. It's a bit like Manchester City and Manchester United, even though they are in the same town there's a clash. These two shows have that. The producers are very competitive with each other about the acts and the ratings - and I think that's good." says Simon.

"At the moment, in terms of record sales, it's obviously X Factor [that's better for singers]. But there's probably a reason for that - and I don't think it's a negative on Britain’s Got Talent. I think it’s because BGT has attracted a different kind of singer in the past. But I think now the show is leaning more towards trying to find more contemporary artists. And I also think artists are feeling more comfortable coming on Britain's Got Talent, where they may not have done three or four years ago. And I think that's a good thing."

The dog acts are rubbish

"I think I have higher standards than the other three, that's for sure! Sometimes I look at something and it's a pale imitation of what we've seen before or I have seen it before. Particularly with the dog acts. When you have had an act as good as Ashleigh and Pudsey, they were famous all over the world. Some of the dog acts we've had on the show this year, it's not just that the dogs aren't good, but the owners are terrible. They are really boring!

"Also, I think there are a lot of people now who think, because they are going to sing opera, we are all going to jump out of our chairs. But we’re not unless you are amazing. I think the audience at home feel the same way."

Simon presses his Golden Buzzer for a singer, surprise, surprise

"On Britain's Got Talent you do take notice of the audience. This guy started off quite well and then I thought he was brilliant. I looked around and felt the atmosphere from the audience. You don't think about it too much in the moment. You're not thinking: 'Should I wait in case there's someone better?' Instead, you think: ‘No, I really like this guy and I want him to go straight through’ so I pressed the Golden Buzzer. I love the Golden Buzzer. I think it's a really good addition to the show. It changes the energy."

The live shows running order will change

"I think we're going to try to change up the live shows, so the running order is more random. There was criticism last year that there was almost a formula, you know, a dance act would go on first, the singer at the end."

There are more old school acts this year

"This year, it was amazing," says Amanda Holden. "I also think we have had more things that have felt real rather than already a hit on YouTube. We’ve had a lot of really organic, old school acts, like it used to be, which has been really comforting because we are only a small country."

Eccentricity is, as usual, rife and there is more musical theatre

"The eccentric acts are my absolute favourite and are the reason I liked this show in the first place," says Amanda. " We had a brilliant guy who came on and played tunes on a comb, he blew into this comb. It was absolutely excruciating to listen to him murdering all these famous songs, but also it was incredibly entertaining."

Simon adds, "I like the more eccentric things and we’ve had some brilliant ones, like a guy who brought on a mannequin wearing a blue ballet dress, or a guy who went round on an organ. It’s classic for me and I can see it on the telly. It’s the quirky stuff you see and know will look great on the show. I love this year that we’ve had more musical theatre than ever because that’s what I really enjoy. I think Simon’s coming round to it because initially he was all for everyone singing covers and no musical theatre, and now he doesn’t want any covers and seems to be enjoying musical theatre.

Alesha Dixon adds, "We had one drag act that came out and she was cooking, it was pretty hilarious. I love all those kinds of acts, they are eccentric, they are entertaining and the audience always get behind them. It winds Simon up and David absolutely relishes those kind of acts. Sometimes they fall flat and sometimes it’s a stroke of genius."

Amanda will staple a playing card to a woman's bum

"It was absolutely horrendous. I noticed she had lots of tattoos, so she might have a high pain threshold anyway. But when she started doing it, it was one of those things where you couldn’t bear it but you absolutely wanted to see if it was causing any pain. So when she came over and asked me to do it, I was like, ‘no way! Oh actually…’

"My friend in the audience said I looked at the stapler like I’d never used one in my life. I haven’t used one on a bottom before, no! I enjoyed it, it was odd. I did it on the warm up man later and he was in a lot of pain - and bled. She didn’t even bleed! Only on Britain’s Got Talent…"

A singer murders 'Let it Go' from Frozen, according to Amanda

"I’m not even joking when I say that song in my house is as important to some people as the national anthem. We sing it every day, we have the costumes, we have every costume you could possibly have, we’ve been to the sing-a-long at the Royal Albert Hall, and I am planning to be Elsa when it’s a musical, even though I’ll be 90 by the time it comes out. It’s a massive deal for us, my little girl could sing all of it before she could speak. I was so excited when I heard the song I almost jumped out of my seat, so I have never felt so upset and heartbroken over an act in nine years, and I’m not even joking. And Alesha put him through!"

David Walliams calls actress Sheridan Smith during an audition

"A gentleman came on stage called John, a magician. He was very entertaining and his dream woman was Sheridan Smith. He really wanted to saw Sheridan in half. Having worked with Sheridan on a play, I can understand what he was saying. We are very good pals so I phoned Sheridan and she spoke to John. I’m hoping that one day we can bring the two together and make a dream come true, at least for John!"

Walliams invades the stage

"This man came on dressed as a nun and he had a mobility scooter decked out with an electric organ. He went round and round the stage playing this organ dressed as a nun, which is right up my street. I actually got on the stage with him and went round and round on his organ. I had a ride on his organ! The other judges just left. He was the last act of the evening and they decided they would leave because I was showing off, which was true."

Walliams whacks his Golden Buzzer for a lady with a keyboard on an ironing board

"I picked this wonderful lady who was a musician. She’s got a keyboard on an ironing board and she sang a song about a crumble, as in the food. Simon buzzed her within about three seconds, but the audience really loved her and I really loved her. I thought she was funny, so I am really glad I pressed my buzzer for her."

"Simon didn’t like her, he didn’t really get her, but then he doesn’t really like comedy. He says I am the only comedian he likes, which is kind of worrying because if a man with absolutely no sense of humour thinks you’re funny, that’s disturbing. So he didn’t like my Golden Buzzer but that’s OK because she’s going to be in the live shows anyway and I think she’s got a very good chance of getting in the final because she’s genuinely really funny and talented. She’s a British eccentric, she’s half way between Miranda Hart and Victoria Wood, she’s got that lovely warm sensibility about her."

Stephen Mulhern gets David to do David V Dogs (formerly titled David Does Dogging)

"We’ve got David doing a competition which is called ‘David v Dogs’. We wanted to call it ‘David Does Dogging’, but he wasn’t going for that. The idea is that he’s dressed up as a big dog and competes against a trained dog. One week he’s doing an agility course, then we have Ashleigh and Pudsey dancing in another week, there’s canine creations involving a real dog that can paint, if you can believe that. David has to paint too but he’s only allowed to hold the brush in his mouth."

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