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Simon Cowell: 'I hired Alesha to hurt Strictly' as he presents BGT lineup

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Simon Cowell has admitted he poached Alesha Dixon for the Britain's Got Talent panel to hurt BBC rival Strictly Come Dancing. The media mogul was pictured arriving for the first round of auditions for the TV talent search on Friday with his new signing.He said his decision to sign up Alesha for his ITV show was partly because he liked her and partly to wound her old show Strictly - which beat The X Factor in the ratings last year. But he insisted such tactical moves were "meant to be in good spirit". He told the Sun: "My decision to poach her was 70-30 on the fact she was on Strictly and the fact I liked her."


The BGT judge went on: "When I was in America I'd read about the ratings battles going on here and I did think Strictly were getting a bit smug. They did great. The funny thing was my trailer was next to Bruno Tonioli's in America," he said, referring to the Strictly judge."I'd see him arriving in LA looking smug. He's a good friend but we were winding each other up. I did have this plan, thinking, 'You're not going to be smiling so much next year if this comes off'. "With us and the BBC, I laugh about it, but there is unbelievable rivalry now. They want to be number one, I want to be number one. "We do what it takes. It's a game - meant to be in good spirit, not supposed to be dirty tricks. We all begrudgingly shake hands when we see each other. You don't do anything for second place.


"But the Alesha thing was kind of fun." The sixth series of the talent show is returning with a revamped judging panel. Alesha and comedian David Walliams will take their places for the first time and they will be joined by Simon and veteran judge Amanda Holden who already tweeted a picture of the lineup.

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