BRITAIN'S Got Talent returned with a bang tonight as the first semi-final of this year's series finally hit screens.
BGT hosts Ant and Dec kicked off the show, which was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, by performing a dazzling duet.
The judges were then welcomed to the stage, with Amanda Holden flashing the flesh in a dazzling gold dress with plunging neckline.
Eight acts did their best to impress them, with comedian Steve Royle eventually being voted through to the finals by Amanda, Alesha Dixon, David Walliams and Ashley Banjo.
Steve had found himself in their top three, alongside magicians James and Dylan and singer Fayth Ifil, with the judges picking him as their favourite.
The funnyman said: "It sounds crazy, genuinely unbelievable, thank you.
"Thank you for giving me an opportunity to perform again, it's the first time I've performed for people for six months and it was like a release."
Ant and Dec opened the show with a dazzling duet. Before busting into song, Dec said to his best pal: "I've missed the laughs, the magic, the mayhem. Is it time to bring it all back?"
The lads then brought on the four judges – Amanda, Alesha, David and Ashley.
Ashley has been drafted in for the semi finals after head judge Simon Cowell broke his back in a biking accident in Los Angeles.
Acknowledging the accident, Dec explained to viewers: "Simon isn't with us for the semi-finals but we wish him a speedy recovery from everyone here at BGT."
Urban Turtles were the first of the acts to perform in the show, blasting onto a stage that had been set to look like central London.
The foursome danced to a series of mash-ups, including a snippet from former BGT runner up Susan Boyle's I Dreamed A Dream.
But the female judges weren't convinced, with Alesha telling them: "You lost me a little bit at Susan Boyle."
Giving her critique, Amanda also told the dance group: "I didn't get the mash up with Susan Boyle but it was a great way to start the show."
Father and son magicians, James and Dyan Piper, were the second act to take to the stage and wooed the judges with an emotional trick.
James invited judge Ashley up to the stage and asked him to pick six photos from the floor from dozens that had floated down from the ceiling.
The magician then told the judging panel and viewers that Dylan was unable to attend the studio and was instead taking part via a video call.
Dylan then successfully described all six photos that Ashley had chosen, despite them being face down on a table.
The sixth was a photo of Ashley holding his son Micah. When the photos were turned upside down, the people in them spelt out Micah's name with their body positions.
James and Dylan then managed to swap places, with Dylan appearing on stage behind a giant photograph of Ashley and Micah.
Visibly emotional, Ashley told the pair: "Honestly, I didn't expect that. That is what coming to this competition to win looks like to me."
Singer Imen Siar, 21, seriously impressed Simon Cowell in her first audition and the semi-final judging panel were equally as wowed.
The hopeful performed her own version of You Say by Lauren Daigle, changing some of the lyrics to Arabic.
Afterwards, Amanda told her: "Oh my goodness me, darling. That was absolutely phenomenal.
"You made that song your own and that whole performance beamed out of you like a great big golden light."
David added: " I loved it. I was thinking the show would be different and harder for people to create a big moment. But that was a huge moment. I thought, 'This girl is a star'."
Child dancer Yakub did his best to impress Amanda, Alesha, David and Ashley too, by performing a Lion King-inspired routine with plenty of kicks and flips.
The school boy, 11, danced to Elton John's Can You Feel The Love Tonight and left professional dancer Ashley gasping: "Wow."
David told Yakub he "stole the show", with Alesha describing him as "super human".
Amanda said she thinks he could win the show, with Yakub telling her: "I'll try my hardest!"
Former Royal Marines commando James Stott warned that he would be "risking his life" to secure a place in the final.
The extreme magician was on the stage hiding in one of five cardboard boxes.
Each judge picked a colour, which gave them a number of a detonator. As they pressed their detonator, a huge weight smashed to the floor and crushed the boxes.
Ashley was last to pick out of two remaining boxes, with just number 4 being left on stage. James then emerged from the box, using a knife to cut himself out.
Amanda exclaimed to her fellow judges: "Completely mad, he is."
She then told James: "You obviously fought for our country and have had to live and breathe so many dangerous things. I can't wait to see what you bring if we put you through."
Children's choir SOS From The Kids, who aim to raise awareness of climate change, were not all allowed on stage at the same time.
Government restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic meant they had to pre-record their performance while standing in a field earlier in the week.
They then all appeared via video link to hear the judges' comments.
"How crazy is this?!" Ashley told them. "That was so, so good. The message is so, so important and in times like this and this year, I will take a double helping of your positivity."
Fayth Ifil, 13, was Simon Cowell's Golden Buzzer act during the first round of auditions, thanks to her incredible performance of Tina Turner's Proud Mary.
She wowed the panel again, with Alesha telling the teen: "I really admire you for standing there and delivering a really strong vocal.
"I think Simon would be proud of you, because that takes guts."
Comedian Steve, 52, made his entrance onto the stage while clutching an armful of bowling balls. He then proceeded to drop them throughout his performance due to "hand sanitiser".
He had the judges in stitches with his gags and hysterical Ashley even had his desk on the table at one point.
Alesha also had her co-stars giggling after failing to get one of Steve's jokes.
The funnyman told the audience his life had changed dramatically since his first audition, saying: "I couldn't leave he house for months."
Not getting his quip about coronavirus lockdown, Alesha asked: "Really?"
Steve finished his audition by dancing to Lord Of The Dance and juggling a series of balls, that got bigger and bigger. He was eventually squashed by a giant ball the fell onto the stage.
Following a performance from Ashley's dance troupe Diversity, the judges were asked to pick their top three acts in a new voting system.
They then had to choose their favourite to send through to the final – with David, Alesha and Ashley all picking Steve.
This put him through, with Amanda admitting: "All the way I would have picked Steve."
All seven remaining acts are now up for the public vote, with lines closing at 10pm on Monday (September 7, 2020).
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