Amanda Holden explains why she gave Ukranian sand artist Kseniya Simonova BGT Golden Buzzer

2 September 2019, 09:54 | Updated: 29 October 2019, 12:49

Emma Gritt

By Emma Gritt

EXCLUSIVE: Amanda Holden gave insights as to how voting works on Britain's Got Talent: The Champions - after fan anger Paul Potts got boot.

Amanda Holden has defended giving a Ukranian sand artist a fast track to the final of Britain's Got Talent: The Champions.

The new spin-off, which sees previous winners from the UK and other international versions of the talent show go head to head to be crowned ultimate champion, began its six-week run on Saturday night - but not all fans were happy.

Paul Potts, who won the show in 2007, and 2017 winner Ashleigh Butler and her dog Sully (original dog Pudsey died in 2017), both failed to make it to the grand finale - with two international acts securing a place.

One was Kseniya Simonova, who won the first Golden Buzzer of the series from Amanda.

Amanda was reduced to tears by Kseniya's performance
Amanda was reduced to tears by Kseniya's performance. Picture: ITV
The final part of the sand art story showed the judges on TV
The final part of the sand art story showed the judges on TV. Picture: ITV

Kseniya won Ukraine's Got Talent in 2009, and competed in America's Got Talent: The Champions earlier this year, coming third.

She uses a mixture of sand art, candles and animation to tell moving stories about youngsters living with terminal illness.

Read more: Anger as Paul Potts is booted off on week 1 of BGT: The Champions

Speaking on Monday's Heart Breakfast, Amanda told co-presenter Jamie Theakston: "I can’t even make a decent sandcastle. I had never seen anything like it.

"She is such a gorgeous, gorgeous woman and she does it for such an amazing cause. She does it specifically for cancer patients, specifically for children to help them with their struggle and help them win their fight."

Each week two acts will earn themselves a place in the final, and joining Kseniya are American couple Bello and Annaliese Nock.

It meant that home grown talent like opera singer Paul, dog trainer Ashleigh and former child singer Connie Talbot will not have a chance to compete for the ultimate BGT title.

Some fans have expressed their outrage that they weren't allowed to vote for who went through, and it turns out that not even everyone watching the show at Wembley Arena had a chance to select their favourite.

Amanda explained how the voting process works, saying: "There are 250 people in the audience who have the opportunity to vote.

"There are 10,000 people watching the show at Wembley Arena, but the producers pick 250 people across the spectrum to try and represent Britain as a public."

The select few were clearly not won over by Paul, whose story is so inspiring it was turned in to a film starring James Corden.

Amanda added: "I was stunned by the voting. He is our first ever BGT champion, he’s a trooper, he’s a gorgeous man, he’s very talented. But you van never argue with people who are voting.

"He had nothing to be disappointed about. He was absolutely brilliant. He brought the house down. And I am stunned he didn’t go through."