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'Gobby' Alesha excited by BGT role

Alesha Dixon has provided leggy red carpet glamour as she joined the Britain's Got Talent panel and admitted she was going to be "gobby".

The star braved the cold and rain in an off-the-shoulder bright yellow gown, flanked by umbrella-wielding minders, as she attended the first audition of the series in Salford.

Show supremo Simon Cowell was equally unfazed by the weather, wearing shades despite the gloomy skies as he hit the red carpet outside the Lowry Centre before hopefuls went through their paces.

This year's winner has already been promised an out-of-this-world prize after being offered the chance to perform in space, thanks to Sir Richard Branson's space venture Virgin Galactic.

Dixon - who joins the show this year, along with David Walliams - was poached from BBC rival Strictly Come Dancing. Cowell said: "We nicked her - but she wanted to come on the show."

The former Strictly winner said: "I like a new challenge and I wanted to do something different. I wanted to get involved in a show that would find a new star." She added: "We can find a real star that hopefully will translate abroad as well, all around the world, not just in the UK. That's the beauty of this show - the unknown."

Amanda Holden, a "veteran" judge on the show, also returns this year and proudly showed off her baby bump as she arrived at the audition. She said: "We are looking for a galactic act this year, not just a global act."

Cowell missed the audition stages last year but this time he is in the judging process from the start. He was greeted with the loudest cheers of the day by hundreds of rain-lashed fans, despite being the last judge to head up the red carpet before auditions began.

Cowell has already admitted that criticism of BGT and another of his shows, X Factor, has prompted a slight rethink. He said: "I have worked in this business a long time. You have got to be a big boy about it and get back to basics."

Cowell said he is excited by the prospect of the winner's high-level performance. "The idea of the first person to perform in space is brilliant. I love it," he added.

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