Selfie frenzy as BGT's Cowell, Walliams, Holden and Alesha bring show to Belfast
Forget about Britain's Got Talent — Belfast had all the talent as stars David Walliams, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Simon Cowell jetted into Northern Ireland to find the next big star.
Hundreds of fans turned out at the Waterfront Hall, despite the dull and dreary weather, as the red carpet was rolled out for the BGT TV judges.
And it wasn’t just the crowds who were excited.
The multi-millionaire music label boss himself told Sunday Life he was delighted to bring the search for next big star to Northern Ireland.
“You know what, on this show you never know what to expect and that’s the fun thing about doing it,” the X Factor star told Sunday Life.
“Perhaps we’ll find a singing cat? Something we haven’t seen before.”
He added: “I like going places on this show that I’ve never been before.
“We never were invited [to come to Belfast] before. I think we were banned from coming over! But finally we were allowed to come, and here we are!”
The X Factor guru, who wore his trademark aviator-style sunglasses, took time out to speak to fans who waited hours in the rain and cold to welcome him to
the city, posing for selfies and signing autographs.
The 54-year-old is due to welcome his first child into the world with partner Lauren Silverman next month. The dad-to-be admitted he took it easy in the city on Friday night, where he stayed at a plush hotel, enjoying a hot chocolate before hitting the sack.
But fellow judge Amanda Holden confessed to over indulging in some cocktails with fellow judges David Walliams and Alesha Dixon.
The trio flew to Belfast on Friday night in a private jet before enjoying a few tipples ahead of their first show of 2014.
Asked whether she had enjoyed any Guinness like show hosts Ant and Dec did at the Duke of York pub on Friday, Amanda told Sunday Life: “No, but I’ve had about 16 apple Martinis!”
Speaking about her hopes about finding new talent from here, the 42-year-old actress added: “I think we’ve upset Scotland because we are not going there [this year].
“But I think we have to explore every avenue and see what this country brings. And then if it doesn’t bring anything, we won’t come back!”
And former Mis-teeq singer Alesha Dixon, who gave birth to daughter Azura in October, revealed she had some hidden Irish talent of her own.
“I used to do Irish dancing when I was a little girl and I was the only one that wasn’t Irish! But I actually did alright! My Irish dancing dress was amazing! I must dig out a photograph.”
Saturday was the new mum's first day back at work since giving birth.
She said: “It’s a blessing to be here and it’s fantastic to be in Belfast.
“Obviously it’s tough going back to work because I miss my little girl, but she’s with her nanny and her dad so she’s fine. She’s a blessing.”
Despite producers having held initial auditions here before, this is the first time the judges will see what talent the country has to offer in Belfast.
It is thought they have been inspired by recent acts such as Derry singer Jordan O’Keefe, who made it to the final of the UTV show last year.
Producers have revealed the Saturday night show, which returns in a few months’ time when the Belfast auditions will be aired, will also have a new element this year — the Golden Buzzer.
Previously, contestants performed and if the judges like what they see they get voted through to the next stage.
If they don't they get buzzed off.
When the Golden Buzzer is pressed the stage will erupt in light, music and glitter to celebrate the act getting through to the live shows.
The lucky contestant will also skip the deliberation round.