Cowell gives ITV an Electra shock by bringing former Baywatch star on to Britain's Got Talent panel
Carmen Electra is to join the panel on Britain's Got Talent'
He was the king of reality TV who could not put a foot wrong in the eyes of his ITV paymasters.
But Simon Cowell’s insistence on parachuting in former Baywatch star Carmen Electra from America to the panel of Britain’s Got Talent has widened a growing gulf between him and the channel.
He decided the former topless model — generally regarded as a talent-free zone — should remain a judge for the show’s London auditions in place of Amanda Holden, who had been declared ready to return to work by doctors after she nearly died giving birth.
My sources say ITV executives were ‘aghast’ at the decision and ‘horrified’ by Ms Electra’s below-par performance on the panel.
I was invited to attend the auditions at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on Tuesday and watched as Cowell had to tell the dim actress when to hit the buzzer, even during clearly substandard auditions.
An ITV insider tells me: ‘Simon wasn’t thinking with his head with this decision. It’s just like when he picked Kelly Brook for the panel. Carmen is virtually unknown here and her performance was shocking. Simon enjoys spending time with her and that seems to be the basis of his decision. In our view it was crazy but he’d made his mind up.’
Simon Cowells insisted on parachuting in former Baywatch star Carmen Electra from America to the panel of Britains Got Talent
New judge Alesha Dixon even had to remind Simon he was working after he appeared distracted by Ms Electra during one audition.
But Simon deflected criticism of Carmen, 39, saying he was focused on boosting ratings which dropped last year.
In a dig at axed judges David Hasselhoff and Michael McIntyre, he declared: ‘We’ve got to get this show back to a talent competition and not a popularity contest.’
New BGT judge David Walliams continued to rile Simon Cowell with his saucy comments this week, especially when he said: ‘Simon and I do Roman and Grecian wrestling together. Or was it just a dream I had’ He’s been warned to remember the family audience.
It was meant to be a quirky look at the paranormal, but for Holly Willoughby it became a nightmare.
The ITV presenter broke down before the start of This Morning’s Supernatural Week, which ends today.
Holly, 30, was in tears on set. My source reveals: ‘Holly was a total wreck. She was scared and producers had to comfort her.’
Usually Phil Schofield and Holly present the entire show together but she refused to do some of the supernatural segments.
X Factor runner-up Marcus Collins, who was mentored by Gary Barlow, tells me the Take That star ‘definitely’ wants to return next series.
This will please ITV bosses who want to keep him despite a lukewarm response from Cowell.
They know Gary’s profile will be raised with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert.A source explains: ‘Gary wasn’t perfect last year but who else is there Only Paul McCartney, Elton and Noel Gallagher have more gravitas.’