Declan Donnelly mocked the absence of his presenting partner Ant McPartlin during the final Britain’s Got Talent semi-final.
The TV star has been left solo for the live shows after McPartlin stepped down from his commitments after pleading guilty to drink-driving.
He referenced his missing partner in Friday night’s show as he introduced the opening act, The Rat Packers – a double act.
“First up we start with two men who are absolutely inseparable,” he told viewers.
“They’re a double act everyone loved at the auditions and now they’re back together for semi-final week. Must be nice.”
McPartlin had appeared in the audition episodes, which were filmed before he was charged.
He was banned from the road for 20 months and fined £86,000 after pleading guilty to driving while more than twice the legal limit.
McPartlin, 42, also missed the final two episodes of his and Donnelly’s Ant And Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway.
Also performing on Friday night was musical comedian Micky P Kerr, who David Walliams labelled an “original comedy voice”.
Robbie Williams was among the audience in the Apollo, giving the Rat Packers the thumbs up and posing for a snap with Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and Walliams.
Donnelly has had to fight through a number of technical issues throughout semi-finals week, including stormy weather interrupting the broadcast on Monday night.
The programme disappeared from television screens minutes after it started, and a message appeared on the screen saying: “We’re sorry for the disruption.”
When the broadcast resumed, Donnelly announced that weather was to blame.
“The weather here in London has caused a few technical difficulties,” he said.
Simon Cowell chimed in: “Ant, you are coming back next year. You didn’t need to do that.”