Ashley Banjo will stand in for Simon Cowell as a judge on Britain's Got Talent while he recovers from breaking his back.The Diversity star, 31, - w
Ashley Banjo will stand in for Simon Cowell as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent while he recovers from breaking his back.
The Diversity star, 31, – who won the ITV show in 2009 with his dance troupe – will take up the new role for the first semi-final, due to be filmed on Friday.
Entertainment mogul Simon, 60, broke his back earlier this month after falling from his new Swind EB-01 bike at his Malibu home.
Shoes to fill: Ashley Banjo will stand in for Simon Cowell as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent while he recovers from breaking his back (pictured in 2019)
Simon told The Sun: ‘Ashley will be a fantastic addition to the panel. He knows the power of the show and the responsibility of it.
‘I couldn’t think of a better person to sit in my seat whilst I follow doctor’s orders. I hate that stupid bike.’
Clearly excited about his judging gig Ashley added: ‘As if 2020 couldn’t get any crazier! Walking on that stage as a 20-year-old street dancer from East London and now I am walking out there and stepping in for the big man.
Replacement: Simon said: ‘Ashley will be a fantastic addition to the panel. He knows the power of the show and the responsibility of it’ (pictured in April)
‘It feels really nice, almost poetic.’
Representatives for Ashley and Britain’s Got Talent have been contacted by MailOnline for comment.
Although it had been hoped that Simon might be able to appear via video call for the already delayed shows, it has now been confirmed that he will not be seen at all.
Accident: Simon broke his back earlier in August after he fell from his new electric bike while testing it out at his Malibu home (pictured on another bike in April)
On Friday a source told The Mirror: ‘It was decided that the idea of having him judge the BGT finalists via a link was just not feasible – nor sensible.
‘Everything is fixed, he just needs healing time. Flying halfway across the world is not part of the plan and he has agreed to put his health first.’
TV bosses were then said to be trying to find a replacement for him in time for the shows, with Piers Morgan being one suggestion.
However a source said that would have been ‘impossible’ due to his ‘spat’ with another of the BGT judges, David Walliams.
Chaos: Although it had been hoped that Simon might be able to appear via video call for the already delayed shows, it has now been confirmed that he will not be seen at all
The shows have already been hit by delays due to coronavirus restrictions. Although the audition episodes were shown in April the live finals had to be postponed.
Filming has also been changed to ensure that crew and acts can remain socially distanced and there is going to be a virtual audience.
Now instead of live shows, the episodes will be pre-recorded and shown in what would have been the X Factor’s prime-time Saturday night slot.
It was previously reported that Simon is planning on filming a BGT special in October with fellow judges Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden, and David Walliams.
A source told The Sun: ‘Simon is a total workaholic and even an accident as nasty as his won’t keep him off for long. He’s been working from his home in Los Angeles since the accident happened and is in contact with his team.
‘The plans for this one-off special of Britain’s Got Talent have been in the pipeline for months and he is convinced he will be well enough to take his place on the panel.
‘The show will feature some of the best talent from the start of the series in 2007. Simon has been told to take it easy but he much prefers to be busy. Plus he loves working on BGT, so for him it’s something to look forward to.’
Funny gift! Simon shared a snap of a bike he was sent by his fellow America’s Got Talent judge Howie Mandel on Friday
Simon broke his back after falling from his new bike and underwent six hours of surgery to insert a metal rod into his spine after the freak accident.
Speaking exclusively with MailOnline after the accident, sources close to the family said: ‘He’s in good spirits and knows he had a lucky escape and that this could have been worse.’
And within two days Simon was already said to be back on his feet walking around and even taking work calls despite reportedly facing ‘weeks’ of physiotherapy.
The family sources added: ‘He’s doing really well considering everything.
New rules: Simon is currently in LA with his long-term partner Lauren Silverman, their son Eric and her eldest son Adam (pictured together last year)
‘He’s been walking around already, obviously he has to be careful, which is expected considering surgery was only one day ago.
‘Simon has even been working yesterday and also today he’s been on emails on his iPad since early morning. He’s in good spirits and knows he had a lucky escape and that this could have been worse,’ they added.
It was also recently reported that Simon has surrounded his hospital bed with healing crystals in a bid to speed up his recovery after breaking his back.
And it is thought that he ditched his vegetarian diet in the hope of returning back to work as soon as possible.
A source told The Sun: ‘Two of his friends had searched out and delivered some powerful healing energy crystals which he has with him.’
It is thought that girlfriend Lauren has been placing the gifts by his bedside as well as bringing him healthy food during his stint in hospital.
The X Factor boss is thought to now be eating a combination of white meat and chocolate during his recovery.
Team: Simon is pictured with talent judges David Walliams, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon during an episode of the show which aired in May