The Rules of "Britain's Got Talent"

By Brian Connolly ; Updated September 15, 2017

"Britain’s Got Talent" is a widely popular television show which showcases everything from opera singers and dancers to dog tricks. Each season contestants are culled through a rigorous audition process based on the votes of four celebrity judges. In addition to a cash prize and tremendous exposure, performers compete for the chance to perform in front of the Queen at the annual Royal Variety Performance. However, there are several rules contestants must follow if they hope to make it to the final stages of "Britain’s Got Talent."

Eligibility

The long road to the semi-finals starts with filling out an application. In order to compete on the "Britain’s Got Talent" stage you must have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man, Channel Islands or the Republic of Ireland. Contestants under 18 years of age must also obtain permission from a parent or legal guardian and be accompanied during their audition. Contestants are required to notify the producers in advance if their acts involve dangerous stunts -- i.e. aerial arts or acrobatics. Acts which contain pyrotechnics are forbidden.

Application and Audition

Contestants have two main options for getting on "Britain’s Got Talent." The first and most common method is to fill out an application on the "Britain’s Got Talent" website and wait to be notified of auditions in your area. Here you get to perform your act in front of professional judges in a non-televised setting. Although there are no set rules when it comes to the content and length of your act, it has to be entertaining and compelling enough to impress the judges. If you’re unable to attend the first audition, the second option is to upload a video of your act with your application. Alternatively, you can also mail a DVD or showreel of your act to the "Britain’s Got Talent" London Office. Successful video applicants then go on to compete in the second round of auditions along with contestants who passed the first round.

Red Buzzer, Golden Buzzer

The sound of the dreaded red buzzer is enough to inspire fear in even the most polished performer. If a judge disproves of an act at any point, they are allowed to press this buzzer, which causes a large red “X” to appear on the stage. If all four judges press their buzzers, then a contestant must stop their act immediately. This helps the judges whittle a spread of almost 200 acts down to around 45 for the semi-finals. However, if a judge is highly impressed by an act, they may press a golden buzzer which allows them to progress to the next round without the consensus of the other three judges. This particular privilege comes with a limitation -- a judge is only allowed to use it once during the season, according to the STV website.

Other Rules

If there are any animals involved in your act, you must be able to show proof that they’ve received all necessary immunizations required by United Kingdom laws. Also, any objects or props used in your act must be approved of ahead of time by the "Britain’s Got Talent" staff. ITV television network employees and their family members are ineligible to compete.

About the Author

Based in the Appalachian Mountains, Brian Connolly is a certified nutritionist and has been writing professionally since 2000. He is a licensed yoga and martial arts instructor whose work regularly appears in “Metabolism,” “Verve” and publications throughout the East Coast. Connolly holds advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and the University of Virginia.