Britain’s Got Talent is back this Saturday April 11th with Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams returning to the judging panel, and hosts Ant and Dec there to cheer on performers from the wing.
Get ready for a new batch of dancers, comedians, choirs, acrobats and even some performing dogs as the nation shows off their greatest talents.
We were lucky enough to be invited to an audition in London back in January, where we got to see the entire day play out – from the large queues of fans waiting outside to get in, to the acts warming up backstage and the judges arriving together.
Here’s what happened when we went behind-the-scenes at BGT…
After trekking round London’s Argyll Street, just off to the side of Oxford Circus, we managed to find the correct entrance into the Palladium Theatre where we had the routine bag search, ID check and were given our special Access All Areas wristbands.
We were then escorted to the main entrance, where we passed long queues of dedicated fans who had been waiting outside for hours to get in. Just before entering the building, we were stopped by security when a blacked-out Mercedes van pulled up.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t see inside, but we suspect it was one of the judges arriving for the big day – eek, how exciting!
We then got to slip backstage and see where the magic really happens… And the pressure was certainly on for those who were about to do their first audition.
From a young choir warming up their vocals, to a comedian practising his best lines and a singer, who was completely “bricking it”, a lot happens before the acts get on stage.
“If I can get through today without swearing or crying then I’ll be happy because I’ve done something that I’ve never been able to. It’ll be those few minutes before getting on stage, I’ll be absolutely bricking it,” one nervous singer told RadioTimes.com.
So, which judge is she hoping to impress the most?
“I would say Simon’s comments would mean the most to me because he’s in the industry,” she revealed, before adding: “But in all honesty, I don’t really care what they say. Everybody’s got their opinion. I’m not everybody’s cup of tea, so I need to accept that Simon might listen to my voice and think: ‘Meh’.”
Sounds about right for Simon, if you ask us.
The audience, AKA “The Fifth Judge”
After chatting to some of the acts, we took our seat about an hour later, with a nice view of the judges’ desk. But the show didn’t really start until the audience arrived.
We were told that throughout the show there’d be cameras rotating in the audience and microphones by our seats recording our reactions from performances, so we had to put our best game face on.
We practised our dance moves and our “press the Golden Buzzer” chants to encourage the judges to send one special act through to the finals.
With all this responsibility placed on the audience, it’s little wonder one act was feeling nervous about getting on stage. When asked who she’d like to impress most out of the judges, she revealed: “I would really like to get a good audience reaction because when they’re enjoying it, I step up a notch because I can feel it.”
From commenting on the contestant’s outfit, bantering and throwing jabs at one another (mostly David picking on Simon as per usual), the connection between the judges was clear from the moment they greeted the audience and sat down in their seats on the panel.
During the auditions, a 70-year-old contestant came on stage and in true David-no-filter style, he asked if she’d had any surgery done, to which she said she said: “No.”
Of course, he used the opportunity to poke fun at his fellow judges as he turned to them and teased: “Wow, someone in the room who hasn’t had surgery!”
Simon did get him back, however, as he put David on the spot and asked that he help a contestant who he felt could do with a little more practice.
That certainly shut the judge up for a while, before he returned to bragging about his NTA nomination – again. You would if you could!
Filled with lots of jaw dropping and heart warming moments, the show really came together, with Geordie duo Ant and Dec bouncing off each other as they opened the show.
The emotions could certainly be felt within the audience and from the judges, who didn’t hide their feelings.
“That was just magic, it really was,” David told one act, as Alesha connected with one of the performers who wasn’t letting their age stop them from doing what they loved.
“I find that really inspiring. And I think that makes you even more amazing!” she said.
Opening up about the music industry, Simon shared some words of wisdom to a singer who admitted to previously feeling insecure about her body image.
“The craziness that you’ve got to look a certain way to sell records is nuts. And that’s because there are a lot of tossers working in the industry,” he said as admitted he’d found the “best singers” were always those you could “relate” to.
It’s never a dull day in Britain’s Got Talent world – and we loved our big day out!
Britain’s Got Talent starts April 11th at 8pm, only on ITV. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.