The fourth series of ITV1’s talent show The X Factor has kicked off with some of the best – and worst – auditions from around the UK.
Over 150,000 people applied to take part in the show which was won by Leona Lewis in 2006.
This time around, however, there are some changes to the format.Original host Kate Thornton has been replaced by Dermot O’Leary, while the age limit for performers has been lowered to 14.
And the finalists will now be sorted into four categories – boys aged 14-24, girls aged 14-24, 25 and overs and groups. Meanwhile singer Dannii Minogue, sister of Kylie, has joined regular judges Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne, and will mentor one of the groups of finalists competing for a £1m recording contract.
The show hit the headlines earlier in the year after original judge Louis Walsh was given his marching orders and replaced with American choreographer Brian Friedman.
However, viewers saw Walsh being summoned back to the judging panel during the first show after Osbourne complained of having no “chemistry” with Friedman and Cowell admitted he was not happy with the way things were going.
The auditions got off to a disastrous start in London with a bunch of wannabes strutting their stuff in front of the panel.
Among the highlights were the very first auditionee Susan, a 55-year-old cleaner who failed to impress judges with her off-key rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone.
Pensioner Emily, meanwhile, entered the audition room with a scarf round her face to cover up her need for dental work, and sunglasses to protect her eyes from the halogen lights. The judges quickly sent her packing after her
singing abilities failed to come up to scratch.
It was better news for the permanently perky brother-sister duo Same Difference. The pair won their way through to boot camp despite Simon Cowell describing them as “two of the most annoying people I have ever met”.
And the judges were unanimous in their praise for the first 14-year-old to audition. Londoner Emily stunned the quartet with her rendition of Randy Crawford’s Almaz, and earned herself a place in the next round.
“This means absolutely everything to me,” she said afterwards, seemingly overcome by the whole experience.
You can see images from the first show in our photo gallery. And
click below to see two of the more memorable auditions from the first show, from Ikalz and 79-year-old Joy.