ANT AND DEC RETURN AS HOSTS.
• £500,000 cash prize on offer to winner.
• First open audition on 22nd January in partnership with Virgin Media.
ITV, talkbackTHAMES and Syco TV today announce that Simon Cowell will return to hit show, Britain’s Got Talent, when it arrives back on our screens for a sixth series in Spring 2012.
Joining Simon on the panel will be actor and comedian David Walliams, singer, songwriter and dancer Alesha Dixon, alongside returning Judge, Amanda Holden.
Simon Cowell said: “I miss Britain and I miss the British public and I miss judging them. I want to find the next generation of talent in 2012. Different and new acts, younger and better talent. You want someone who can be a star all over the world and by coming back in 2012, it’s the year of the Olympics, it’s a big year for Britain, we are going to be in the world’s spotlight and I want this show to be back in the world spotlight. This year I really felt that I’ve got to put my money where my mouth is, so I’m personally putting up £250,000, so that’s £500,000 cash to the winner, so that’s a big incentive.”
“I’m absolutely delighted David is joining the panel. He thinks he can do a better job than the people there before so it’s going to be fun. I think he’s terrified!”
“I love Alesha. She is feisty, opinionated and knows what it’s like to be both a competitor and judge on a hugely popular TV show. This is going to be a brand new experience for her and I think she is going to bring a lot to the table. I’m really looking forward to working with her and hope we get the opportunity to find a star together”.
David Walliams said: “I am so thrilled to be the new Cheryl Cole.”
Alesha Dixon said: ” I am delighted to be joining the judging panel of Britain’s Got Talent for 2012, it’s a fantastic show and I am very excited to be working with Simon, David and Amanda on the search for a new star. ”
Amanda Holden said: “I’m really excited to be back on Britain’s Got Talent, it’s so much fun and I can’t wait to see what talent the UK has on offer this year! Having Simon back will be great – I’ve missed my work husband being on the panel and keeping him in check every now and again.”
This year the stakes are higher than ever as the prize for the winner will no longer be £100,000. Britain’s Got Talent is upping the ante by offering £500,000 cash – £250,000 of which will be out of Simon’s own pocket. The winner will also perform at the Royal Variety Performance in 2012.
Britain’s Got Talent will also be holding its first ever open audition in partnership with Virgin Media on Sunday 22nd January at London’s Oval, to welcome new and exciting acts from across the UK the chance to show off their talent.
Elaine Bedell, ITV Director of Entertainment and Comedy said: “We all really missed Simon during the BGT auditions last year, so I’m very pleased he’s back this year for the whole run. There’s no Head Judge quite like Simon Cowell. And I’m delighted David and Alesha will be joining Simon and Amanda on the panel. David is one of the country’s top entertainers and a big fan of Variety, and Alesha’s career in showbusiness has already taken in both pop music and TV entertainment. I expect all those acts waiting in the wings to audition in 2012, are as excited with this panel of judges as we are.”
Jeff Dodds, Executive Director of Brand & Marketing Communications for Virgin Media said: “This year Britain’s Got Talent is leaving no stone unturned in its search for the best of Britain’s Talent. Virgin Media is delighted to be involved in the first Open Audition and will be ensuring our customers have a chance to be a part of it!”
ADDITIONAL QUOTES FROM SIMON COWELL:
Simon Cowell on:
• Missing Britain and his return to Britain’s Got Talent.
• David Walliams and Alesha Dixon to join Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden on the panel.
• The £500,000 prize and why he’s putting up £250,000 of his own money.
• Wanting to find a better winner than even his own show, The X Factor.
• The search for younger contestants and a guitar playing dog.
• Announcing the Open Audition in London on 15th January in partnership with VirginMedia.
“I miss Britain, and I miss the British public, and I miss judging them. I’ve worked in America all this year and it was great to go back to America, but now I’ve kind of got itchy feet again.
Even though they are both my shows, I would like to find a better winner on Britain’s Got Talent than The X Factor. To me it’s a challenge. What I really, really passionately believe when I do these shows is that you have to find someone who can be known all over the world from appearing on the show. That’s what happened with Paul Potts and that’s what happened with Susan Boyle.
Normally we have a £100,000 prize pool for the winner and you get to appear on the Royal Variety. I think this year I really felt that I’ve got to put my money where my mouth is and I’m personally putting up £250,000, so that’s £500,000 cash to the winner, so that’s a big incentive.
I came back because most importantly I want to change the perception of the show. I think there’s a notion with the show that all we want is older people who can sing opera. I don’t mind that, but at the same time, the whole notion of this show is to say it’s open for people that can’t just sing. It could be a new young comedian; it could be something we’ve seen on YouTube. I don’t know what it is, but you want someone who can be a star all over the world, and by coming back in 2012, it’s the year of the Olympics, it’s a big year for Britain, we are going to be in the world’s spotlight and I want this show to be back in the world’s spotlight.
I love originality, I love great singers, I love great comedians. I love things I’ve never seen before. Everyone thinks I hate magicians, well I hate bad magicians, but I’d love to find a great magician. I’d like to find the next Nsync or the next backstreet Boys, the next Justin Bieber. I’ve always dreamt about finding a dog who can play guitar. And we’ve failed. So I want talented dogs. I really want one that can dance or can play an instrument.”
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