Ant and Dec 'couldn't bear' taking Cowell's place on BGT

Ant and Dec couldn't "bear" filling in for Simon Cowell on 'Britain's Got Talent'.

The presenting double act stepped in for the talent competition's head judge when he was off sick during this year's auditions, but they admit they struggled to be critical of the acts on stage even if they weren't good.

Dec said: "We had a day where we filled in for Simon when he was ill. I say a day, but we did a couple acts each and after that we had to make our excuses and leave. We couldn't bear it.

"We weren't mean, but we were trying our best to be!

"As soon as you hit the buzzer, they look at you and you go, 'I'm so sorry, I didn't mean that, the other judges made me do it. You're very talented, you can go through. You've won!' "

Ant, meanwhile, says he and Dec were very apologetic to acts that they weren't impressed with.

Speaking to BANG Showbiz at the London auditions yesterday, he said: "They deserved a buzz but even though they deserved it, it was very hard to press that buzzer. And yeah, we apologised to them afterwards."

The latest series of 'BGT' will see the show's hosts given some power as they - along with the judges - will be able to press the new Golden Buzzer, which sends the act on stage right through to the live semi-finals. However, they can only exercise this special privilege once.

Dec explained: "I'm sure the time will come, if there's an act we really love and the judges don't, we might be tempted to run down and hit it. We've certainly got that in our back pocket."

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