Britain's Got Talent stars had to "up their games" for Champions series

UK hopefuls face extra competition from international rivals in new all-stars spin-off

Britain's Got Talent: The Champions: Ep1

The Britain's Got Talent judges have told how international rivals forced acts to "up their games" for spin-off The Champions.

Some of the ITV talent contest's most popular acts are returning to compete once more in the new 'all-stars' edition.

The line-up includes no less than eight former winners, from original star Paul Potts to the latest victor Colin Thackery.

However, there is another obstacle they must overcome in their quest for ultimate glory.

The show also involves standout contestants from several other global versions of the Got Talent format.

This twist could make for one of the most competitive series ever, as judge Alesha Dixon said it meant the British hopefuls "definitely had to up their games".

"I imagine anyone who has won the series before will definitely feel under pressure," she commented. "If you’re a winner, you’re a winner and you’re going to want to maintain that.

"I think the British acts really felt like they had to up their game when they saw the contenders from around the world. It made them even more competitive.

"The great thing is that regardless of the competition, the spirit of the show is what drives people to want to perform well."

Amanda Holden agreed, saying: "I think it’s certainly made the British acts think hard about what they are doing."

Nonetheless, the original panellist is confident that UK performers are more than capable of holding their own.

"We're only a tiny island, but I think we stand up very well to global talent," she continued.

"Our show was the reason that the franchise travelled everywhere around the world.

"If it wasn't such a good show in this country, it probably wouldn't have been as popular across the world."

Not all the acts were desperate to win, with Alesha explaining that some simply came back to thank Britain's Got Talent for launching their careers.

"There are some people who see BGT as coming home and it doesn’t matter if they win," she added.

"It’s more a celebration of your success and the show as a whole around the world."

The Champions is entirely pre-recorded, meaning it features a different format from regular series - with no viewer voting.

In each of five heats, two acts reach the grand final - one chosen by the audience, the other by the Golden Buzzer.

Filming took place at Wembley Arena, with Amanda revealing that the 6,000-strong audience made her "feel like One Direction".

Britain's Got Talent: The Champions begins this Saturday (31st August) at 8.00pm on ITV.

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