Backstage at the BGT rehearsals: fake winners, stand-in judges and dressed-down Ant and Dec

Before each live show there's a full run-through, which means a stand-in Simon Cowell, a more casual Ant and Dec and a chance for the acts to find out what winning - or losing - feels like

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Ahead of each live semi-final show this week, the Britain’s Got Talent crew do a run-through to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible on the night. Ant and Dec practise their lines, the acts are shown where they’ll stand and there are even stand-in judges. And just to keep this fake results show nice and fair, the acts’ names are pulled out of a hat to decide whether they’re going through. 

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One-by-one the performers get a taste of what it’s like to be voted out – ie, have a red light shone on them – and some even find out how it feels to make it into the top three, or even to be named winner. 

On the panel, the fake judges pretend to give Amanda, Simon, Alesha and David’s thoughts, even sending the vote back to the public decision. The stand-ins tend to be runners working on the show, and at times they’re even asked to walk out of the doors at the back to practice the judges’ entrance. “They wear stickers to say which judge they are,” a show insider told me. 

There are no stand-ins for Ant and Dec, although they do rock a more ‘off-duty’ look than their polished live show style. There’s only so long one can be bothered to wear a three-piece suit, right? The hosts are certainly kept busy, with rehearsals running throughout the day, before a quick change and onto the live show. 

In between the camera checks, make-up and run-throughs, the wardrobe department is also working at high-speed. Outfit changes can happen as late as forty minutes before transmission. And with bigger and bolder outfits than their first auditions there’s a lot to decide for each of the acts. 

As a bystander it feels like there’s a whole lot to get done, but having seen just what these guys can achieve in a thirty-second advert break, it’s no wonder it all comes together so seamlessly on the night. 

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Britain’s Got Talent continues tonight at 7:30pm on ITV