Britain’s Got Talent has announced a format change as the show returned to screens with the start of the semi-finals following the coronavirus lockdown.
The show went on a long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, and hosts Ant and Dec opened the pre-recorded show reflecting on “a strange few months” and saying how much they have missed the talent.
They then performed a musical number in which they showed off a huge screen of fans watching at home, in place of a live studio audience.
The song also introduced viewers to Diversity star Ashley Banjo, who will take Simon Cowell’s place on the judging panel while the music mogul recovers from back surgery.
Afterwards, the hosts announced there will be a format change because the show has been pre-recorded – saying that after all eight acts perform, the judges will choose one act to send straight to the final.
Then the remaining seven acts will face a public vote, and the winner of that vote will also get a place in the final.
They also addressed how the show has adapted to new guidelines, which sees the judges seated at socially-distanced individual desks, rather than on one long desk together.
Amanda Holden, who will fill in as head judge in Cowell’s absence, will have the deciding vote if there is a tie.
The hosts also stressed all the acts would be “following Government guidelines” and said “some acts will have created bubbles especially for the show”, adding that they are in a bubble together.
The dozens of acts to have made it through to the semi-finals include Aidan McCann, a young magician from Ireland; Amanda and rescue dog Miracle – a magic act from Scotland; the Chineke! Junior Orchestra and Class Dynamix, a choir from Leeds.
The show airs on ITV from 8pm.