Ashley Banjo has been confirmed to replace Simon Cowell as a judge for the Britain’s Got Talent finals.
ITV has confirmed that dancer Ashley will temporarily replace music mogul Simon, after he suffered an electric bike accident and broke his back in several places.
Simon has since undergone surgery to treat his injuries and has been recovering at his US home. However, the accident means he cannot resume his usual spot on the judging panel at Britain’s Got Talent‘s upcoming semi-finals.
Thankfully, Ashley knows a thing or two about the hit talent show and judging in general. The 31-year-old won the show with his dance group Diversity back in 2009 and previously judged Sky1 dance show Got to Dance and ITV’s Dance, Dance, Dance and Dancing on Ice.
He will sit alongside regular judges Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams.
Ashley said, ‘As if 2020 couldn’t get any crazier! It’s super humbling and super exciting! I remember being on that stage last year and talking about how it’s been ten years since we won, and how people should never tell you, you can’t do something. Walking on that stage as a 20-year-old street dancer from the streets of East London and now I am walking out there and stepping in for the big man. It feels really nice, almost poetic.’
Simon has also said that Ashley ‘will be a fantastic addition to the panel,’ because ‘he knows the power of the show and the responsibility of it.’
ITV has confirmed the Britain’s Got Talent finals will air later this year, without a live studio audience – due to the coronavirus pandemic. A one-off catch up show reminding viewers of the biggest and best auditions this year will also air before the semi-finals kick off in autumn.
Simon’s accident also meant he was forced to drop out of two live shows for America’s Got Talent. Singer and talk show host Kelly Clarkson stepped in as his replacement.