How are the new judges?
ANT: David constantly flirts with Simon which is very funny! We’re slightly surprised at how harsh Alesha can be. She knows her stuff, especially with the dance acts. She gets very technical with them.
SIMON: David is totally and utterly bonkers, unpredictable, everything I thought he would be. Alesha’s like a different person, she’s like a canary out of a cage, she’s loving it. She’s got a real infectious sense of humour.
AMANDA: Alesha is 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. David 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 gasping at some of the stuff David was coming out with, but Simon was in stitches, and I mean proper belly laughs and snorts.
DAVID: I’m loving it. You can’t prepare anything because you are just reacting to people. In a way that makes it easy, but it also makes it hard because you really have to think on your feet the whole time to have a response. When people are brilliant and when people are terrible, it’s easy to know what to say. It’s when people are in the middle that it’s hard.
Has it been nice to see Simon back at auditions?
DEC: It’s been great to have him back. He has a unique knack of saying what everyone is thinking at home.
AMANDA: He’s wicked – I don’t mean in the coolsense but in the evil sense, and I find that amusing. It really appeals to my sense of humour. I always used to call him Darth Vader but this year I called him Voldemort as he was particularly evil.
What do you think of the talent this year?
ANT: Very good. It’s definitely a step up from last year.
AMANDA: I normally I have a dead cert winner in my head, but this year there are three that I think could win.
SIMON: I think the talent is better now that I am back.
What have been some of the best acts during the auditions?
DEC: There’s been some very good singers and musicians. We’ve also seen the return of the ukulele! We’ve had a few ukulele players audition.
ALESHA: As much as we saw some amazing singers and dancers, I’ve actually loved the acts that bring something new to the table that I’ve never seen before. I also loved the brilliantly bad acts. They’re not the best singers or dancers, but they have a special quality that entertains you. I’ve always said, if you can actually entertain then you do have some sort of talent.
DAVID: There was a singing duo that stood out. We weren’t necessarily expecting a lot but they really blew us away. We’ve seen some great young comics, although it’s hard to find a comedian everyone thinks is funny. I’m really hoping the comedians do well, but it’s hard for a comedian because they have to get through quite a lot of material as they progress to the live shows.
And the worst?
DEC: We had our first female “female impersonator”: a woman pretending to be a drag queen!
ALESHA: I hate it when people are so bad that they’re not even funny. I can never work out if some of them are having us on.
AMANDA: I think I’ve seen enough of street dancing. Bring back lycra and sequins, I want more of that!
DAVID: There was a performing pest controller; he was one of the worst. And there was a guy who sang a song for his girlfriend that didn’t work.
What kind of act would you like to see win this year?
SIMON: You want the winners to go on and have careers, not just pick up a cash prize – so that’s why we’ve got to be careful about who we put through to the finals, because we don’t want somebody winning just because they’ve got a sob story. But I’m still going to put a bet on a dancing dog being there until the end!
ALESHA: Whether it’s a dancing dog, a comedian, or a singer or a dancer, it has to be someone that connects with the audience and works hard at their talent.
DAVID: I’d like the winner to do something that we’ve never seen before and for them to be undeniably talented. There’s something really thrilling about seeing someone and being completely in awe of them because you know you can never do it yourself.