Britain's Got Talent 2012
Britain's Got Talent 2012 is the sixth series of the popular reality talent show. Judges in this series are Simon Cowell, David Walliam, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon. However, Amanda Holden fell ill during the birth of her child and had to pull out of the audition stages. She will return for the live shows. Ant and Dec are hosting the show.
The winner of the show will not only get to perform in front of the Queen at the Royal Variety Show in London, but will receive increased prize money of £500,000 (including 250,000 of Cowell's own money). The winner will also be blasted into space after Cowell has teamed with Richard Branson, the show's new sponsor, to offer the prize of a flight in Virgin Galactic’s 2,500mph spaceship.
The immensely popular ITV show toured the country for auditions in major cities including Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham and London. The audition stages are often the funniest part of the show with large numbers of contestants who have very little talent. Their acts have become a long-standing joke but they often have comedy value for the studio audiences and TV viewers.
Britain's Got Talent is shown on ITV on Saturday evenings. It is the 'sister show' of X Factor - also produced by Simon Cowell - and gave rise to Susan Boyle, the Scottish singer who became an international star after her audition on the show in 2009.
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During one of the early auditions for the show in Cardiff, Cowell kept the other judges waiting for two hours while he soaked in lemon-scented bath. The media-mogul arrived late at the studio where David Walliams asked to smell him to prove he was telling the truth. The multi-millionaire also takes baths during the show. Cowell is apparently a 'law unto himself' and regularly lays in until noon and works late into the evening.
The BGT spin off show Britain's Got More Talent is hosted by Stephen Mulher. He has been the regular host since the show began, apart from in 2010 when he was briefly replaced by the comedian Paddy McGuinness who starred alongside Peter Kay in the show 'Max and Paddy'. In the 2012 series, Cowell reportedly told Mulhern that he 'needs plastic surgery' on his hair, nose and chin. Mulhern was also rushed to hospital during the series with a mystery throat ailment.
Previous Britain's Got Talent judges have included Piers Morgan, Kelly Brook, David Hasselhoff, Michael McIntyre and Louis Walsh.
Notable winners from previous years include Paul Potts in 2007, George Sampson in 2008, Diversity in 2009, Spellbound in 2010 and Jai McDowall in 2011. Former finalists who proved popular contestants include Stavros Flatley, the flabby father-and-son Greek dancers, in 2009 and the impressionist Paul Burling in 2010.
Carmen Electra was briefly brought in to replace Amanda Holden who had a difficult pregnancy. However, Ms Electra was repeatedly booed by the BGT studio audience and subjected to chants of 'bring back Amanda'. Ms Electra was also scolded by fellow judge David Walliams for dizzy comments and for flirting with Simon Cowell. She's clearly there because Simon has taken a fancy to her!