Inside Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon’s secret pact to walk away from Britain’s Got Talent over Bruno Tonioli pay row

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SEETHING judges Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon vowed to quit Britain’s Got Talent over pay — hours before filming began for the new series.

They were unhappy about newcomer Bruno Tonioli’s rumored deal and made a pact to walk out of contract talks on Monday night.

Amanda Holden vowed to quit Britain's Got Talent over pay

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Amanda Holden vowed to quit Britain’s Got Talent over payCredit: Goff
Alesha Dixon is also unhappy about newcomer Bruno Tonioli's rumored deal - picture with David Walliams, Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden

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Alesha Dixon is also unhappy about newcomer Bruno Tonioli’s rumored deal – picture with David Walliams, Simon Cowell and Amanda HoldenCredit: PA
An ITV insider said: 'Alesha and Amanda were deeply upset, understandably, by reports that Bruno was being signed up for more money than them'

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An ITV insider said: ‘Alesha and Amanda were deeply upset, understandably, by reports that Bruno was being signed up for more money than them’Credit: Tom Dymond
The insider added: 'Amanda and Alesha are consummate pros and will embrace Bruno as a member of the BGT family'

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The insider added: ‘Amanda and Alesha are consummate pros and will embrace Bruno as a member of the BGT family’Credit: Tom Dymond

However the hugely popular pair, said to be making a principled stand for women, were persuaded to stay by frantic ITV bumps.

They are understood to have got pay rises bringing them in line with their predecessor David Walliams.

It is not known whether former Strictly judge Bruno, 67, has had his reported £850,000 fee slashed.

Last night an ITV insider said: “Alesha and Amanda were deeply upset, understandably, by reports that Bruno was being signed up for more money than them. Between them they have almost three decades of experience, and are the very backbone of BGT.

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“Both were fully prepared to walk if, as women, they were paid less than the men.

“It actually wasn’t about the money, more the principle. They wanted to strike out for women in the industry, and ensure parity across the financial board.

“Amanda and Alesha are consumer pros and will embrace Bruno as a member of the BGT family. They just want to make the best series possible now, and get on with the job at hand.”

Yesterday auditions kicked off for the new series of the hit show, hosted as usual by Ant and Decwith Bruno admitting he was “very, very nervous.”

He took his seat on the panel alongside Simon Cowell, 63, Amanda, 51, and Alesha, 44, and wasted no time in breaking the rules.

He got over-excited when a dance troupe came on stage — and hit his golden buzzer before they had finished.

Cowell told them: “That’s never actually happened, you’ve made BGT history. Usually the golden buzzer is pressed after you’ve performed. But Bruno was too excited and decided to press it while you were performing.”

The new judge was so enthused by the troupe that he got on stage and joined them.

Bruno’s buzzer gaffe means they go straight through to the live semi-final later this year.

He said to the youngsters: “I’m sorry, it just felt right. You have to follow your heart. I was literally exploding. You’ve started this show with a triumph. I can’t wait to see you again.”

Earlier, Bruno was introduced to the audience at the London Palladium by Declan Donnelly who said: “We’re so excited to be back! We’ve got a bit of a change this year, a brand new judge on the panel.”

His appearance ends weeks of speculation over who would replace Walliams, with Amanda’s pal Alan Carr thought to be a dead cert for the job.

But last week The Sun exclusively revealed that it would be Bruno, a long-time pal of Simon’s.

After arriving at the Rocky soundtrack, Eye of the Tiger, he paid tribute to his fellow panellists, saying: “I am thrilled to be here, look at these girls, they’re stunning.

“And my old friend Simon, what an honor it is to work with you, finally. He’s teased me with this for years and years, I tell you. I’m thrilled to finally be here. I’m very emotional and I’ m very, very nervous.”

Bruno then got to business — and buzzed off the first act, a keyboard player dressed as Darth Vader.

He said: “That was torture! I’m bewildered, the force is definitely not with you! Maybe you could come back next year as someone else.”

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It comes after a rocky few weeks in the wake of Walliams’ departure.

The 51-year-old quit after the leaking of vile comments he made about BGT contestants.

Dec arrives at the London Palladium

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Dec arrives at the London PalladiumCredit: PA
Ant waves to the crowds before the show

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Ant waves to the crowds before the showCredit: Getty
Simon has a selfie with a fan

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Simon has a selfie with a fanCredit: Darren Fletcher



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