Britain’s got Talent returns to ITV this evening, with all four judges in good form as they banter their way through the audition process. But how much of that bonhomie is real? Do they actually disagree on acts, or is it all for the cameras? And how annoying DOES Simon Cowell find David Walliams?
To find out, we quizzed each one on their true feelings for their fellow judges, and you can see the (often surprising) result below. Starting with…
The other judges on…Alesha Dixon
Simon Cowell: Alesha was supposed to be on X Factor but it didn’t work out. Then we decided to add a fourth judge on BGT and she said yes. She had what we were missing, real expertise with the dancers. She’s current and fun, and her relationship with Amanda is genuine — and they’re not afraid to go up against me and David!
BUT She can get very headstrong and it’s difficult to change her mind — she occasionally walks out! And sometimes she comes on in these bizarre, crazy outfits. But she’s so good-looking, she gets away with it.
David Walliams: She’s passionate and knowledgeable about music and dance, so she’s got a real strong sense of what she likes and won’t be swayed.Sometimes I want to put someone through because they’re a laugh, but she takes it very seriously — I admire that.
BUT She touches me quite a lot and I find it inappropriate. She’ll suddenly grab my leg or my arm and I find it a bit uncomfortable.
Amanda Holden: When I found out she was joining the panel I rang her and said, “Shall we have a coffee, because Simon is going to want us to hate each other, and it ain’t going to happen!” I didn’t mind going from being the Queen Bee to sharing. Having somebody to be vulnerable with and do girly stuff with is so nice! We put our slippers on under the desk and we don’t care what Simon says.
BUT She’s too perfect! She’s got one of those faces that’s completely photogenic from every single angle.
The other judges on…David Walliams
Simon Cowell: He is honestly the most annoying person I have ever worked with in my life; I might even be allergic to him. He’s like a spoilt child who never stops performing — but that’s what makes him brilliant. He makes me laugh and I have more fun with him than anyone I’ve ever worked with.
BUT There is not a single day where at some point I haven’t thought, “I might actually hate you.” And this year his golden buzzer act is so awful, he will regret it, I promise you.
Amanda Holden: He’s the best thing that’s happened to the show. We’re quite similar and I often dread what he’s going to say about an act, because I always think, “I was going to say that!” What I love most is how outrageous he’s been towards Simon — about his height and sexuality and ex-girlfriends… The places nobody else would dare to go.
BUT He can be quite politically correct, which I can’t stand. When you think about the sketches he’s done, when he has a problem with somebody on stage, I just think, “How can you say that’s not funny when your comedy is so offensive?!”
Alesha Dixon: David and I joined at the same time, and we’ve stuck together. He’s very much a gentleman, he’s very considerate of the women on the panel and very kind-hearted to the contestants. But he’s also very witty and comes out with sharp one-liners.
BUT He’s always on his phone! I want to sit there and have a gas, a little chit-chat. Maybe he just doesn’t want to talk to me!
The other judges on…Amanda Holden
Simon Cowell: heryl [Fernandez-Versini] was supposed to be in Amanda’s place, but with days to go she backed out. We called ITV and they suggested two people — one was Amanda and the other was a girl on Corrie. Now I couldn’t imagine doing the show without Amanda. She enjoys every minute of it, never gets fed up, is easy to work with and is the voice of the public.
BUT Her toilet humour, which I hate. I just can’t bear it. And she just never stops talking. During filming breaks she talks and talks, whereas I’m quite comfortable with an uncomfortable silence.
David Walliams: You don’t often survive a series in this kind of show let alone ten, and that’s because she’s a good judge; firm but fair. And she’s good at flirting with Simon — I think that’s enough to secure her place every year! I’ve tried it but it doesn’t work for me for some reason…
BUT She talks a lot! If I have a headache she makes me want to lie down in a darkened room.
Alesha Dixon: She’s had my back from day one. Even when I started and people wanted us to hate each other. We’ve formed an alliance and it’s always us keeping the boys in line, which is an interesting dynamic because obviously Simon is essentially the boss. And she’s got a dirty laugh and can come out with some really naughty comments.
BUT She just doesn’t know how good she is. I’m always telling her that she’s brilliant and deserves so much credit, but she won’t accept a compliment.
The other judges (and Simon Cowell) on Simon Cowell
David Walliams: It’s exciting being in his presence because he is very famous and he has this brilliant team that basically herald his arrival as if he’s royalty. There’s a gaggle of attractive female assistants who arrive before him, one by one. The first arrives and it’s like, “Simon’s left the hotel!” The next one arrives going, “Simon’s in the car!” Then the final one will walk in before him trumpeting, “Simon’s coming!”
BUT He doesn’t like to arrive first or be kept waiting because he’s the biggest star, and that’s hard on everybody — the contestants, Ant and Dec, the production crew. Especially because we never know when he’s going to be there. He’s started setting new records of lateness. We are meant to start at one o’clock and the latest start has now been five o’clock!
Amanda Holden: BGT was an absolute gift, and he constantly says to me, “I made you popular!” And to be honest I’m like, “Yeah, all right! Whatever you say.” We share the same kind of sense of humour — he can be quite dark and I can be too, although most people think I’m Little Miss Sunshine! We also both work better when we’re on the back foot — we’re fighters, we’re both made of the same metal. I say to him every year, “If you want to sack me, you have to make the phone call yourself.” But he hasn’t got the balls to do it, that’s probably why I’m still here after ten years!
BUT He’s a tease. When he finds your Achilles heel, he’ll keep going for it. In comedy there’s a rule of three: you can make a joke three times until it stops being funny. He’s got a rule of ten! He’ll keep on and keep on… Like when Alesha and I are critiquing other girls, he makes his hands into a claw and starts going, “Miaow!” into the microphone. Once, he even got a saucer of milk from under his desk.
Alesha Dixon: Everybody loves him because he’s such a charmer — he has an aura, an air about him. Everyone around him just wants to impress him! And he is actually hysterically funny and loves a wind-up — he’s always stealing my phone and sending out tweets that make me look silly, which I find quite funny. That’s his joke of the series.
BUT I hate it when he stops an act halfway through, when we’re really enjoying it. We could be really in the moment but he doesn’t care and kills the vibe.
Cowell on Cowell: My job on the panel used to be to annoy everyone else and be the bad guy but ever since David joined us, the dynamic changed. Now it’s no longer about me annoying them, they set out to annoy me. Now I am actually the victim, the underdog. I’ve had to become the nice person!
BUT I’ve got to admit it — I think the four of us on the panel is about as good as we’re ever going to get. We actually even considered transferring them all on to X Factor at one point, but their egos, if I ever suggested it, would be unbearable! There have been times with X Factor — now I’ve had the chance to rethink what happened last year and the years before — where we had that chemistry and lost it by trying to change too much.
Britain’s Got Talent returns to ITV tonight (Saturday 9th April) at 7.00pm