A shy teenager from Northern Ireland has emerged as an early front-runner in The X Factor as the 2011 series gets underway.
Janet Devlin, 16, was one of the highlights of the first audition show of the series, which featured some of the best – and worst – auditions from London, Birmingham and Liverpool.
The teenager appeared nervous as she faced the new judging panel of Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland, Louis Walsh and Tulisa Contostavlos – but nonetheless wowed them with her rendition of Elton John’s Your Song.
“We are trying to find people who will sell records around the world,” Gary told her, “and you are one of those people.”
Kelly, meanwhile, described the performance as “beautiful. I am completely in a trance from your voice,” she added, as all four judges voted her through to the next round.
Others who got lucky on the first show of the 2011 series included Kitty Brucknell, who impressed the judges with her singing – but could well divide audiences with her “quirky” personality.
Louis Walsh told the 26-year-old her rendition of Lady Gaga‘s The Edge Of Glory was “great” while Kelly added, “I want you to make sure you remember that place you were when you got here. You want this so bad and you meant every word of that song.”
And 18-year-old Frankie Cocozza also made it through after charming the panel with his cheeky demeanour – and flashing a tattoo he had on his bum featuring the names of seven girls.
However the teenager won through with his gravelly rendition of the Zutons/Amy Winehouse hit Valerie.
“I think people are going to love you,” Gary said, comparing his vocals to Rod Stewart. “Well done.”
Louis added: “I think you’ve got a great kind of a rock voice…you are a cheeky chappy.”
Others to make it through included waitress Roxy Yarnold from Essex, who wowed the judges with her powerful voice, and 24-year-old Heshima Thompson, whose dance moves impressed the judges almost as much as his singing.
And one of the quirkier acts to make it through was 48-year-old Hong Kong native Goldie, who made it to the stage despite being unwell and being sick before her audition.
However she then left the panel speechless with her odd singing and an eccentric routine which at one point saw her wrapping her legs around Gary Barlow’s head.
“It’s been a long time since I had a stranger’s leg round my leg,” the Take That singer joked.
“You owned the stage,” Louis added, “it was fantastic.”
However it wasn’t such a good night for 19-year-old George Gerasimou – who had previously auditioned in 2009 as part of the group Triple Trouble.
On that occasion his temper got the better of him after the band were rejected – and it was a similar story this time around after his off-key audition received the thumbs down from the panel.
Although it was Gary who was the most critical – saying the teenager had “matured like a bad curry”, it was Tulisa who bore the brunt of George’s rage, as he tore into a rant about her replacing Cheryl Cole and let rip with a string of abuse, calling her a “scumbag” and a “dog”.
Eventually, after being led backstage he was told off by Dermot O’Leary. “George, watch your mouth! Do not call girls that!” he told him before he was led out of the venue.