ABOUT BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT

Number of Seasons: 8

Britain's Got Talent (sometimes shortened to BGT) is a British television talent show competition which started in June 2007 and originated from the Got Talent series. The show is a Thames production distributed by FremantleMedia and is produced in association with Syco TV. The show and its sister show Britain's Got More Talent are broadcast on ITV. Anyone of any age with some sort of talent can audition for the show. Acts compete against each other in order to gain the audience support while trying to win the title of "The winner of Britain's Got Talent". Each year, on the morning of the first show of the new series, Britain's Got Talent has a special program titled "Most Talented", featuring interviews of the winners from the previous series and their progress since winning.

Throughout the show, contestants must perform in front of the judges, and each year initial auditions have been held in front of a live audience. Auditions precede live shows, where the final 40 contestants (45 in 2012) perform nightly for a week in order to impress the British public. There have been six winners to date: Paul Potts, George Sampson, Diversity, Spelbound, Jai McDowall and Ashleigh and Pudsey. The winner of each series is given the opportunity to perform at the Royal Variety Performance in front of members of the British Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth II. The winner also receives a cash prize, which from series 1 to 5 was £100,000, but was increased to £500,000 in series 6. Britain's Got Talent is known as one of Britain's biggest television talent competitions and has also proven popular throughout Europe. The series 3 live final brought in 17.3 million viewers, (a 64.6% audience share). On 18 October 2010, ITV announced that Cowell had signed a new three-year contract renewing Britain's Got Talent until 2013.

The initial judging panel consisted of Cowell, Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan. Kelly Brook was brought in as a fourth judge during series 3, but was axed just days later. In 2010, it was announced that Morgan would not return as judge for series 5 and that Cowell would be absent during the auditions stage, so Michael McIntyre and former America's Got Talent judge David Hasselhoff joined the panel. In 2011, Hasselhoff and McIntyre revealed that they would not return for series 6. They were replaced by comedian David Walliams and Alesha Dixon, a former Strictly Come Dancing judge and member of girl group Mis-Teeq.

The seventh series of Britain's Got Talent will begin airing on ITV on 13 April 2013 and will end on 8 June 2013. Ant & Dec will return to present the main show on ITV, while Stephen Mulhern will also return to present spin-off show Britain's Got More Talent on ITV2. The judging panel will consist of Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams, all of whom were judges for the sixth series.

Format and Stages

There are four stages to Britains's Got Talent:

Stage 1 - Auditions

The auditions take place in front of the judges and a live audience at different cities across the UK. Unlike on The X Factor, at any time during the audition, the judges may show disapproval to the act by pressing a buzzer which lights a large red "X" on the stage, indicating that they particularly dislike the act and do not wish the performance to continue. If all the judges press their buzzers, the act must end immediately. From series 1 to 5, it was three buzzers due to the show having three judges, but from series 6 onwards it is four buzzers due to the show having four judges. From series 1 to 5, (with the sole exception of the Manchester auditions in series 3, since there were four judges), voting worked on a majority-of-two basis where two positive votes were required. From series 6 onwards, voting works on a majority-of-three basis as there are four judges. The judging panel give an act a "Yes" if they like them and would like them to return in a subsequent episode, and a "No" if they dislike the act and do not wish to see them again.

Stage 2 - Callbacks

After the auditions, the judges have to whittle almost 200 successful acts down to just 24 (series 1), 40 (series 2 to series 5) or 45 in Series 6. All of the performers are called back to discover if they have progressed to the live semi-finals. During series 5, some of the acts were asked to perform again to try to get through to the semi-finals as the judges were having difficulty coming to a final decision on whom to send through to the semi-finals. This was the first time this had ever happened in the history of the show.

Stage 3 and 4 - Semi-Finals and Final

The semi-finals and final are broadcast live from The Fountain Studios in Wembley with a varying number of semi-finals, followed by the one live final (sometimes split into two episodes over one night). The remaining 40-45 acts perform in semi-finals, with the 5 most popular acts from each semi-final winning a position in the final. Judges may still end a performance early with 3 Xs from series 1 to 4, and 4 Xs from series 5 onward.

After all acts have performed, phone lines open for a short time, while the public vote for the act they think were the best. After the votes have been counted, the act that has polled the highest number of public votes is automatically placed in the final. The judges then choose between the second and third most popular acts, with the winner of that vote also gaining a place in the final. All other acts are then eliminated from the competition.

From series 5, the rules relating to judges' votes in the results show changed from previous series. In the past, the decision as to which act was sent through to the finals was made by the three judges (from which there would always be a majority). Now that there are four judges, if there is a two-way tie, then, just like The X Factor, the act with the second highest number of votes from the public would be sent through to the finals, otherwise the judges' decision stands.

Wildcard

In series 6, a wildcard element was introduced. This is where judges pick an eliminated act from the semi-finals and that act is sent through to the final. In series 6, the wildcard act selected was The Mend.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org