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Amanda Holden: I knew Diversity’s Britain’s Got Talent dance would jolt people

The judge and radio presenter said she missed ‘naughty’ Simon Cowell on the show.

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Amanda Holden is standing in as BGT head judge (Ian West/PA)

Amanda Holden is standing in as BGT head judge (Ian West/PA)

Amanda Holden is standing in as BGT head judge (Ian West/PA)

Amanda Holden has said she knew Diversity’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent would “jolt” people the first time she saw it.

The Black Lives Matter-inspired routine, which aired last month, sparked around 24,500 complaints to broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

The 49-year-old, who recently released her debut album, said the dance was about more than being anti-racism.

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Amanda Holden’s album is titled Songs From My Heart (Universal Records/PA)

Amanda Holden’s album is titled Songs From My Heart (Universal Records/PA)

Amanda Holden’s album is titled Songs From My Heart (Universal Records/PA)

She told the PA news agency: “I knew when we all saw it for the first time that it would jolt people and make people think.

“I am thrilled that ITV stood by it as we all do and did because TV is not always there to comfort and entertain you. It’s there to make you think and it is there to make you start a conversation.

“And as a family show I think that conversation is important on every level.

“It wasn’t just about that horrific incident in America. It was also celebrating the NHS and reflecting on lockdown and community and everything.

“It was a very strong piece and it was an honour to be one of the first people to see it.”

Ofcom has said it will not investigate the routine.

The routine saw a dancer playing a white police officer kneel on Ashley Banjo, echoing the killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in the US, while others performed with police riot shields.

Holden is standing in as head judge for Simon Cowell as he recovers from a back injury, after falling off a electric bike he was testing at his house in Malibu.

She said she missed his bad behaviour on set.

“Oh my God, I miss him so much,” she said.

“Ashley is doing the most phenomenal job and is so bright and witty and clever and just brilliant.

“(Simon) is so naughty. That’s what I miss. I miss having my pigtails pulled and being poked because that’s what he does. He just winds us up and I just miss him for that.

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Simon Cowell suffered a back injury (Matt Crossick/PA)

Simon Cowell suffered a back injury (Matt Crossick/PA)

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Simon Cowell suffered a back injury (Matt Crossick/PA)

“I just badly want him to get back and be well again. But there couldn’t be a better choice than Ashley sitting in that seat. It’s amazing.”

Holden recently released her debut album, Songs From My Heart, featuring 13 tracks from the world of musicals.

She duets with Sheridan Smith on I Know Him So Well from Chess and sings solo on standards including Somewhere from West Side Story and I Dreamed A Dream from Les Miserables.

Holden said she felt the need to show people she deserved her seat on the BGT judging panel.

She said: “I don’t feel like I need to prove myself but I always think it is a good idea to constantly put myself out there because I am a judge on Britain’s Got Talent.

“I have always said that I couldn’t possibly judge people unless I am willing to be judged myself and I stand by that.”

In May, Holden released her debut single, a cover of Over The Rainbow, famously sung by Judy Garland in 1939’s The Wizard Of Oz.

Money raised from the track went to NHS Charities Together, which supports staff and volunteers working on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.

– Amanda Holden’s debut album Songs From My Heart is out now via Universal Records.

PA