Determined to keep viewers hooked, there have been some changes made to the show’s format, including the introduction of the golden buzzer. Each judge is given the opportunity to use the buzzer once during the auditions. Pressing it will automatically give the act a place in the live stage of the competition.
“I was the first judge to press the golden buzzer. I can’t give anything away, but I genuinely think I’ve picked something that can win the whole competition,” Amanda told the Daily Express.
“I felt that the act was just the most unbelievable thing I’d seen. It started off quite normally, even a bit dull to begin with. And then it went crazy and I could not believe it. The audience was up on their feet and I stood up and thought, ‘I’m going to do this’. So I pressed the buzzer and all this gold stuff fell from the ceiling and everyone was going nuts. It was amazing.”
There have also been new additions behind the Britain’s Got Talent scenes, with both Simon and Alesha becoming parents recently. Alesha and partner Azuka Ononye welcomed baby daughter Azura into the world last October, while Simon’s partner, Lauren Silverman, gave birth to his first child, a son named Eric, in February.
Amanda, who has two daughters of her own, Lexi, eight, and two-year-old Hollie, is delighted with the new members to the Britain’s Got Talent family.
“I went straight to see Alesha’s baby after she was born. She’s gorgeous, an absolute munchkin. She’s beautiful, like her mother, and has really juicy lips. And I’ve always said that Simon would be a great dad, so I’m thrilled for him.
“Alesha cried during the auditions this year and I said, ‘That’s because you’re a mummy now’.”
But, says Amanda, becoming a father hasn’t turned Simon into a soft touch.
“There will be things about him that will change as he gets used to being a dad, but not at work,” says Amanda. “It’s like saying a CEO of a company is suddenly going to go soft because he’s become a father. That doesn’t normally happen, does it?”
Amanda admits it never gets any easier to send contestants home, but says the show prepares contestants for the harsh reality of showbusiness.
“You do have to let people down,” she says. “But you can let people down in a positive way and it’s a good lesson if that’s the industry that they really want to get into. I’ve been told ‘no’ so many times in my life that I don’t even know what it means any more.”
So for those still willing to put themselves forward for a chance of fame and fortune, what words of advice does Amanda have for hopefuls in the Britain’s Got Talent auditions?
“Make it count,” she says. “Don’t say, ‘Oh well, I’ve got this other thing up my sleeve, I wish I’d done that’. We get a lot of people saying that every year.
“You’ve got two minutes and you’re in front of Simon Cowell, so just do your best. It’s such a wasted opportunity otherwise.”