The sixth series of The X Factor has kicked off with some of the best – and worst – auditions from London, Manchester and Glasgow.
And for the first time ever the auditions have taken place in front of live audiences up and down the country, as well as judges Cheryl Cole, Dannii Minogue, Louis Walsh and Simon Cowell.
This year things got off to a dodgy start with Lithuanian duo Dreamgirls, whose rendition of Robbie Williams‘Angels failed to impress the panel.
Cowell compared their vocals to the sound of “cats being squashed” while the others suggested they should stick to their modelling day job.
But there were highlights – such as 19-year-old single mum Stacey Solomon from Dagenham in Essex – who wowed all four judges with her version of What A Wonderful World.
“I didn’t expect you to be that good,” Cheryl told her, as all four voted her through to bootcamp.
And teenager Joseph McElderry, from South Shields, also came up trumps singing the Luther Vandross song Dance With My Father.
“You’ve just made the competition very very exciting,” Louis Walsh told him. And Simon agreed. “We may just have found ourselves a pop star,” he beamed.
But the biggest praise was saved for Reading schoolteacher Danyl Johnson, who rounded off the show with his version of With A Little Help From My Friends.
“I’d take you in my category right now,” Cheryl told him. Simon added, “I’ve been doing this eight or nine years, and that was single-handedly the best first audition I have ever heard.”
Other acts divided the judges – such as Irish twins John and Edward.
Simon described them as “not very good and incredibly annoying” – but Louis disagreed. “You do look like pop stars,” he said.
There were also some familiar faces on hand – notably previous auditionee Emma Chawner, who made a memorable appearance when she donned a giant ballgown to sing Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On.
This time she returned with her sister Samantha, as one half of the duo Sister Act – but the judges still weren’t impressed.