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X Factor fans could be forgiven for thinking they had been transported back in time.

As the first auditions for the 2016 series of The X Factor kicked off at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, the red carpet was full of plenty of familiar faces.

Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger have rejoined the judging panel, with Dermot O’Leary back as host – and everyone looked delighted to be back in business.

Fellow judge and X Factor creator Simon Cowell also joined them on the red carpet – a relief for show organisers after fears that he and Dermot could both miss the first auditions due to illness. However, they both recovered in time to make it to Leicester.

Nicole Scherzinger arrived in Leicester in this garish number or X Factor auditions

Clash! Nicole Scherzinger took to the red carpet in a red trouser suit (Rui Vieira/PA)

Nicole  was a judge on The X Factor in 2012 and 2013, securing victory in her first series with James Arthur and proving a huge hit with viewers for her enthusiastic and passionate approach. As a singer, Nicole has achieved global success, selling millions of records both as one of The Pussycat Dolls and then as a solo artist.

“I can’t wait to be back on the show with the best judges sitting alongside me on the panel. I’m excited about discovering, mentoring and winning with an exciting new act this year. And having had winning contestants in the past, Simon knows I will do it.”

Louis Walsh arriving for X Factor auditions in Leicester

Louis Walsh is thrilled to have The X Factor back in his life (Rui Vieira/PA)

Music manager Louis reprises his role on the panel, returning for a record-breaking 12th series. 

Talking about his comeback, Louis said: “I knew Simon missed me last year! I’m delighted to be back on the panel especially beside my two favourite female judges Sharon and Nicole, and I’m looking forward to taking them all back to Dublin this year when we head there for auditions.”

Sharon Osbourne arriving for X Factor auditions

Sharon Osbourne feels the love as she walks the red carpet (Rui Vieira/PA)

Renowned for her straight-talking, Sharon was one of the original X Factor judges, appearing on the panel from 2004 to 2007 and then again in 2013.

Simon Cowell flashed an awkward peace sign

Simon Cowell signals peace but knows The X Factor is a battle (Rui Vieira/PA)

Speaking of her return, Sharon said: “I’m overjoyed about going back to The X Factor, sitting with Lou-Lou, gorgeous Nicole and naughty Simon. But most of all, I can’t wait to meet [Simon’s baby] baby Eric.”

Dermot O'Leary at X Factor auditions

Dermot O’Leary at X Factor auditions (Rui Vieira/PA)

The judges’ auditions began on Friday, June 10. Fans will be pleased to hear on their favourite aspects of the show has been revived: the room auditions.

The X Factor will return to ITV at the end of the summer.