Britain’s Got Talent | Interview with Ant and Dec

ANT AND DEC tell-all Britain’s Got Talent Interview

Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams returned as judges but it’s Ant and Dec we love to see.

Britain’s Got Talent first appeared our screens seventeen years ago, and apart from a pandemic break in production, has been entertaining viewers ever since, so what’s new this year?

How was it being back with the gang and doing Britain’s Got Talent auditions again?

Ant: We missed the wonderful people that we get through those theatre doors. I missed the audience in the auditorium. That was big, because we’d done the auditions before we’d done Saturday Night Takeaway, so it was our first proper live audience for a while. It was quite emotional.

What was it like not doing it last year?

Dec: It was really bizarre because it has been an annual event for us. Every January, we’d come back from the New Year and the first thing we’d do was BGT auditions. Just to not have that in the diary felt a bit empty and a bit weird. Like Ant said, we missed being in the theatres with the audiences, with the acts backstage and with the judges. We just really missed it, but it was impossible to do last year. There was just no way we could do it with the pandemic. So it made it extra special being back this year with everybody. It takes something like that to make you really, really appreciate it. It was great to be back.

How easy was it for you all to slip back into your working relationship together having had a year off?

Ant: It was quite easy, actually. As soon as that first act came around the corner and you’re asking questions, because we’re genuinely interested to find out what they’re doing. It always comes from a place of curiosity. For us, it was easy. The judges too, I think we all slipped back in fairly easy.

Do you think you’ve changed at all over these 10 years, as a group?

Dec: Yeah, definitely. Everybody’s certainly more experienced in their fields. We’ve all seen a lot more talent and have a much clearer idea, I think, of what works and what doesn’t work for an audience. I think we’ve all learned a lot and have gained a lot more experience. I think we understand the show more and appreciate how much hard work goes into the rehearsals of the act and what really has that bit of special magic fairy dust that makes it an absolute golden audition. I think we’ve all been doing it so long now, there’s a realisation of what really works.

How would you describe the vibe of the series this year?

Ant: I would say the vibe of the series is a one of gratitude, gratitude from us that the acts are back and gratitude from the acts to be able to perform on stage again. Because people haven’t worked for so long. In our industry, a lot of, especially performers and singers, didn’t have anywhere to perform, they couldn’t work during the pandemic. We had acts that would never have normally done the show before, come down to audition, and acts who would’ve done BGT, have had two years to really work on their act, so that the talent was really strong.

Dec: We had a lot of acts who’ve gone, ‘Oh gosh, I’ve never had the courage to, or I didn’t think I would ever audition to Britain’s Got Talent, but since everything that’s happened over the last years, I’ve just thought, do you know? Sod it. I’m going to do it. I’m going to go for it, grab my opportunity.’ I think there’s a renewed sense of people going, “Just go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose.”

You mentioned obviously the standard’s high. Do you think it’s perhaps higher because you’ve had that break so the professionals have been honing their skills and the non-professionals have had a year practicing at home in lockdown?

Ant: I think that’s definitely the case.

Dec: I think that’s hit the nail on the head, absolutely. The professionals have gone, ‘Right, I’m going to go for this because life’s too short. Let’s just grab it.’ The non-professionals have gone, ‘Right, while I can’t go anywhere I may as well put some rehearsal time in and then really go for it.’ The standard’s been incredible to see.

Do you think this year could go down as a vintage BGT year?

Ant : Oh yeah .

Dec : Absolutely . I think taking a year off, although wasn’t ideal, I think it’s really reinvigorated the show and reinvigorated the talent . Hopefully, that will come across and hopefully the audience sees that .

Were there any moments that were really emotional?

Ant : There were a few . We surprised somebody in the audience . He was surprised by his daughters and was asked to come on stage and perform that day . He thought he had just come to watch the show! He went away for an hour or two, rehearsed, and then at the end of that session came back and performed the song . That was very emotional .

Dec : That was a tear-jerker! That’s what’s amazing about BGT is that you never quite know the next act if it’s going to have you in tears, in hysterics, floods of rage because it’s not as good as you’d hoped . You just never know what emotions you’re going to feel for the next act . That’s what’s so magic about it .

Going into this series, did you have an idea of what you wanted for your Golden Buzzer?

Dec : That’s the thing for us . We’re so far away from the Golden Buzzer . If there’s anything that’s really good we know the judges are going to get there first . So we always have to go for something a little bit different, but something that the audience gets behind and something that we feel . And also, it’s got to have looked good from the side because that’s all we get to see! It has to work watching it from the side . That’s why every year it’s been something a little bit different . We got the winner last year in Jon Courtenay . He was our Golden Buzzer and he went on to win it . This year, we think we’ve got as good a chance to see our Golden Buzzer win again . We’ve got a really good one!

You wake up on audition day and what’s the first thing that goes through your mind?

Ant: What time will Simon Cowell get there today?! The second thing is just thinking about what we will get to see. We don’t know. We have no idea who’s going to walk around the corner, what they are going to do, good, bad or indifferent. So, it’s quite exciting, especially before the series starts, you get this real sense of excitement about what you’re going to discover.

How has Simon’s time-keeping been this year?

Dec: We’re used to it, so as long as you’re used to it, it doesn’t come as a surprise! For us, auditions are always fun, and you do think, “Is today going to be the day that we see the winner and unearth a brand-new star?” Everyone who has won the show has gone on to stardom and success of varying degrees. So, we always get excited about the prospect of meeting a brand-new star!

Ant: I tell you what’s nice as well, when you meet certain people and they have that look in their eye, especially if they’ve been doing it for a long time where they just realise that this show could change their lives. Whether they win or not, if they do well this show could change their life, their income, their kids’ lives. It’s a big day for everyone who walks around the corner and chats to us.

One little boy challenged the judges to name flags, but Simon wasn’t very good, was he?

Ant : I know! He’s a well travelled man but his geography is shocking, very shocking!

Dec : The thing that I loved as well is that he challenged all the judges down the line . He asked David, and then he asked Alesha, and then Amanda . Simon tried to end the act before he got to him, so it didn’t show how bad he is at geography . I love it when little kids challenge the judges, because there’s only ever going to be one winner .

Are there any acts that stick in your mind this year?

Ant : There are some really good choirs this year, really good singers . It tends to go through stages, Britain’s Got Talent, where you have one year, it’s the year of the singer, songwriter . One year, it’s the year of the magician, like the last time we did it, it seemed very magician heavy . This year, there was a lot of everything . There’s a lot of just really good acts . It’s the year of the good act, I think .

Dec : It’s great . I’m genuinely intrigued as to who the final 40 will be . I know how many acts the judges put through, and they’ve got a real task on their hands to get them down to 40 , because the quality is so high this year . There’ll be a lot of really good acts that miss out this year as well . You can’t put 40 singers through . You can’t put 40 choirs . You can’t put 40 magicians through . You have to have a mix of categories . There are going to be some really good acts that miss out, just because there are too many good comedians or too many good singers, whatever . It’s going to be harsh on a few acts, but hopefully, maybe we’ll see them again another year .

Britain’s Got Talent airs Saturdays on ITV at 8pm

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Mark Meets
Mark Meets
MarkMeets Media is British-based online news magazine covering showbiz, music, tv and movies
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