Simon Cowell and Bruno Tonioli were inseparable on Thursday afternoon as the latest series of Britain's Got Talent took place at the London Palladium.
No-nonsense head judge Cowell, 64, who is known for giving brutal feedback to contestants on the ITV talent show, was in cheerful mood as he attended a press conference at the iconic venue.
The TV personality was joined on the red carpet by fellow judges Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and Bruno Tonioli as they ran the gauntlet of expectant fans on a crowded Argyle Street.
And they gave them plenty to look at as they posed for a photo session on the Palladium steps, during which Cowell playfully tugged on Tonioli's ear.
The Italian dancer promptly retaliated by grabbing a handful of Cowell's butt while the four judges stood shoulder to shoulder.
The cheerful Cowell also happily treated waiting fans to repeated requests for selfies and autographs after arriving in a casual Lycra top and black joggers – a contrast to his preferred high-waisted trousers.
Simon Cowell made fun of fellow judge Bruno Tonioli by pulling his ear during the Britain's Got Talent photocall at the London Palladium on Thursday afternoon
The Italian dancer promptly retaliated by grabbing a handful of Cowell's butt while the four judges stood shoulder to shoulder
In a dramatic start to the audition, security guards were seen securing the area after police arrived at the scene to take out the “intruder”.
The unidentified woman, pictured with her hood pulled up, allegedly attempted to sneak past security and enter the restricted area.
A Met Police spokesman said of the incident on Wednesday: “Police were called at 1.23pm today to reports of a woman in Argyll Street, W1, suffering from a mental health crisis.”
“Officers and London Ambulance Service attended. The woman was assisted by officers who arranged for a family member to pick her up. There were no crimes.'
A Britain's Got Talent source said: “The police were dealing with a person outside the Palladium who was causing a stir and the BGT team helped.”
“But BGT didn’t call the police and there was no danger to the judges as he didn’t make it to the Palladium.”
Audiences allegedly heard conversations among theater staff who said an intruder had “tried to sneak backstage” to see music mogul Simon Cowell and his celebrity colleagues.
Auditions for the hit televised talent show, which aims to find the country's next star, have reportedly been postponed due to the chaos caused by the “invader”.
A cheerful Cowell was also happy to pamper waiting fans with repeated requests for selfies and autographs after arriving in a casual Lycra top and black jogging trousers
The judge walked past a gauntlet of fans on Argyle Street before heading inside
LR: Ant McPartlin, Bruno Tonioli, Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and Declan Donnelly outside the London Palladium on Thursday afternoon
Cowell was in a lighthearted mood as he applauded fans outside the venue in central London
She was pictured wearing a hooded track top, flanked by officers as she was escorted from the theater.
After the incident, officers were seen speaking to theater door staff while a small crowd gathered outside the stage door where security guards were standing.
The judges and presenters have a busy few days ahead of them as contestants will flock to the London Palladium to showcase their talent in a bid to make it through the show.
They started the castings on Wednesday afternoon and will complete two blocks of casting shows per day in a packed schedule until Sunday.
They then travel to Manchester in early February where they audition for a further five days at the Central Convention Centre.
The release date for the upcoming seventeenth season of Britain's Got Talent has not been confirmed yet.
The release date for the upcoming seventeenth season of Britain's Got Talent has not been confirmed yet
The team of presenters and judges posed for photos at the iconic venue on Thursday