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Simon Cowell returns to judge Britain's Got Talent

Cowell confirms he will join Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams for the show in 2013

Simon Cowell has announced he will return to the judging panel of Britain’s Got Talent for 2013.

Cowell will join Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams on the judging panel from the start of the live auditions. For the past two years he has slipped the pre-recorded auditions, appearing on screen from the start of the live show later in the series.

He said: “I loved doing the show last year, the new panel worked really well and I’m very happy they have all agreed to come back. Last year was a special year for talent and I hope that in 2013, off the back of an amazing year for Britain, we find another global star.”

The announcement has sparked rumours that Cowell will return to the judging panel of The X Factor next year as viewing figures hit an all-time low this year. Cowell left the show in 2011 to sit on the judging panel of Fox’s version of The X Factor USA.

This year 13.1 million people tuned in to watch Ashleigh Butler and her pet dog Pudsey win the show. 

A spokesman for Syco, Simon Cowell’s production company, said: “It is no secret he [Simon Cowell] has missed working on the UK show and he has not ruled out returning to the show as a possibility in the future.”

The 2013 series of The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent will be the last under Syco's current three-year production deal with ITV.

In the new year Cowell hopes to renew the deal with ITV, which is likely to see a revamp of The X Factor's format to address the decline in ratings.

Britain’s Got Talent has already altered its format slightly for next year. Members of the public are being asked to act as “Star Scouts” and recommend unsigned talent for the show in 2013. If their act wins they will be given £10,000.