BGT winner will be ‘first to perform in space’

Simon Cowell has revealed plans to offer the winner of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent the chance to perform in space.

The media mogul said he is in talks with Sir Richard Branson, who is sponsoring the show, about blasting the next champion into orbit with Sir Richard’s space venture Virgin Galactic.

According to reports, Cowell said: “We are trying to work out a way so that the winner of the show gets to go up in the spacecraft and will be the first person to perform in space.”

Cowell said the experience would not be compulsory for the winner, but that Sir Richard would cough up the ‘tens of millions’ of pounds the dream prize is worth.

He added: “I will make it happen. If it had been a few years ago Susan Boyle could have been singing Unchained Melody in front of the whole planet.” Cowell also plans to go on the spaceship himself.

Auditions begin on Friday for the sixth series of the ITV1 talent show, which is returning with a revamped judging panel.

Comedian David Walliams and former Strictly Come Dancing judge Alesha Dixon will take their places on the panel for the first time.

They will be joined by longterm BGT judge Amanda Holden and by Cowell, who was only on the panel during the live shows last year.

In his interview, Cowell admitted he became ‘a bit too cocky’ after a successful year in 2010, but in 2011 his ‘ego was put in check’.

Last year saw ratings fall for Britain’s Got Talent, fewer viewers than Cowell had predicted for the US version of The X Factor, and his gameshow Red Or Black? mired in controversy after it emerged the first millionaire it created had been jailed for attacking a woman.