Simon Cowell announces past winner as Britain's Got Talent replacement

24 August 2020, 10:57 | Updated: 24 August 2020, 11:00

Simon Cowell's replacement judge for Britain's Got Talent 2020 has been announced
Simon Cowell's replacement judge for Britain's Got Talent 2020 has been announced. Picture: ITV

By Giorgina Hamilton

Simon Cowell's replacement as a judge on hit TV show Britain's Got Talent has been revealed after injury forced the TV mogul to not take part in the 2020 series.

Simon Cowell's stand-in as a judge on Britain's Got Talent has been announced by ITV - and it's a past winner of the talent show.

Ashley Banjo, who won Britain's Got Talent in 2009 with his dance troupe Diversity, will be stepping in as a judge on the smash hit TV series.

Read more: Simon Cowell undergoes six-hour surgery on broken back and closely avoids being paralysed for life

Simon has starred in every series of the show since it began in 2007, but has had to step aside as he recovers from breaking his back in a nasty bike injury earlier this month.

Ashley Banjo has been announced as Simon Cowell's replacement on Britain's Got Talent 2020. Pictured, Ashley arriving at the Capital radio studios in 2019.
Ashley Banjo has been announced as Simon Cowell's replacement on Britain's Got Talent 2020. Pictured, Ashley arriving at the Capital radio studios in 2019. Picture: Getty

31-year-old dancer Ashley Banjo will join fellow judges judges Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, and David Walliams to critique the acts on 2020's show.

With the semi-final due to be filmed next week, Simon revealed the decision behind choosing Ashley as his replacement.

See more: Britain's Got Talent 2020: Who are the Golden Buzzer acts so far?

"Ashley will be a fantastic addition to the panel. He knows the power of the show and the responsibility of it," Simon said.

"I couldn’t think of a better person to sit in my seat whilst I follow doctor’s orders. I hate that stupid bike."

Ashley added that he felt very 'humbled' returning as a judge after winning the show with dance act Diversity 11 years previously.

Read more: Ashley Banjo facts: Who is the Britain's Got Talent star's wife and brother and what is his height?

"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," he said.

Ashley Banjo and Perri Luc Kiely of dance troupe Diversity perform at MEN Arena on April 9, 2012 in Manchester, England.
Ashley Banjo (centre) and Perri Luc Kiely of dance troupe Diversity perform at MEN Arena on April 9, 2012 in Manchester, England. Picture: Getty

"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."

The news comes after Ashley posted a picture of himself sitting with his baby Micah Grace at the Britain's Got Talent judging panel (above).

The semi-finals will be shown as five pre-recorded episodes, with acts performing via video link or on stage with no audience to comply with social distancing rules.

The show will conclude with a live final in October when one act will be crowned the winner of Britain's Got Talent 2020.

See more: Paul Potts returns to Britain's Got Talent: The Champions 12 years after winning series 1