"My co-host for this series, would you please welcome - Mr Ant McPartlin!".
The 43-year-old was involved in a drink-driving crash where he was fined £86,000 and the decision was made for him to take a break to recover.
After receiving rapturous applause from the audience and judges Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and David Walliams, an emotional Ant said: "Hello everyone".
The make-up artist announced her collaboration with Avon UK on Thursday in the same week that she would have returned to work on Britain's Got Talent with her ex-husband.
The simple snap showed the best friends and colleagues smiling as they sat in the back of their chauffeured auto.
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At the end of a year ago, Ant posted a tweet from the presenting duo's joint account suggesting he was ready to get back in the studio.
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Ant & Dec have been appearing on television together since 1989 when they both acted in teen soap Byker Grove.
Introducing Ant, Dec said: "We've got a bunch of acts backstage who are eager to get out here and perform for you. I mean even though Dec was brilliant, it still wasn't the same", the music mogul said.
"It would be like me not being with David [Walliams], I would be happy, but not happy - if that makes sense". Two months later he crashed his Mini Cooper while driving more than two times over the legal drink-driving limit.