simon cowell bgt replacement

Ashley Banjo on BGT: Simon Cowell confirms Diversity star as his replacement

He was a contestant on the show in 2009

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Simon Cowell has confirmed that Ashley Banjo will be his replacement as a judge for the BGT finals.

This weekend, it emerged that the music mogul, 60, would not be part of the rest of this year’s Britain’s Got Talent.

He will be missing the series – split in half due to the pandemic – because of his back injury, sustained in an accident involving an electric bike at his Malibu home.

simon cowell on BGT
Simon Cowell confirmed his replacement on the BGT panel (Credit: ITV)

Who will be Simon Cowell’s replacement on BGT?

Now, Simon has confirmed that Dancing On Ice judge Ashley will be stepping in as his replacement.

In a conversation with The Sun, the BGT boss said: “Ashley will be a fantastic addition to the panel. He knows the power of the show and the responsibility of it.

“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 was a contestant on the show, with his dancing group Diversity, on series three in 2009.

Ashley Banjo
Ashley Banjo will be a BGT judge instead of Simon (Credit:

How did Ashley Banjo react to his new BGT role?

He said: “As if 2020 couldn’t get any crazier! Walking on that stage as a 20-year-old street dancer from East London and now I am walking out there and stepping in for the big man.”

Read more: Simon Cowell ‘to miss BGT 2020’ as he recovers from back injury

Speaking further, Ashley said it “feels really nice” and “almost poetic.”

The Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals will take place over five episodes – each of which will be pre-recorded, and feature no audience – for a live final in October.

Now I am walking out there and stepping in for the big man.

Speaking to the Mirror, a TV said previously that Simon would have to miss the rest of the 2020 BGT series to “put his health first”.

Simon Cowell
Simon recently had to have an operation on his back (Credit: Jen Lowery /

Simon Cowell putting his health first

The source told the newspaper: “Everything is fixed, he just needs healing time. Flying halfway across the world is not part of the plan and he has agreed to put his health first.”

Read more: Piers Morgan reignites feud with BGT judge David Walliams

Bosses had reportedly hoped he could appear on the show via video link, but later scrapped the plan.

The insider continued: “It was decided that the idea of having him judge the BGT finalists via a link was just not feasible – nor sensible.”

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