X Factor: Amelia, Marcus amaze judges

A 16-year-old from Middlesbrough and a singing hairdresser from Liverpool were among the acts who wowed the judges and audience in the second instalment of X Factor auditions this weekend.

Teenager Amelia Lily Oliver marked herself as a potential contender with a rendition of Beverley Knight’s Piece Of My Heart which won cheers from the crowd and rapturous praise from the panel at Liverpool’s Echo Arena.

Louis Walsh described her as “a star” while Gary Barlow said that talent like hers was his reason for taking part in the show in the first place.

“Oh my goodness, 16 years old, that was incredible,” he said. “That absolutely lifted the top of this arena, well done, amazing vocals. Amelia, I am blown away.”

Also impressing the judges was hairdresser Marcus Collins – who previously had a brush with X Factor stardom as a member of the band Eton Road who finished fifth in the competition in 2006.

The 23-year-old Liverpudlian sailed through to boot camp following his performance of the Stevie Wonder classic Signed, Sealed, Delivered, with Tulisa praising him for looking “comfortable” on stage. Gary, meanwhile, said Marcus had “found his own groove” with the song.

Elsewhere, gravel-voiced singer Jonjo Kerr almost came a cropper when his nerves got the better of him just seconds into his song.

“This is no longer you performing in front of your mates,” Gary reminded the father of one before he pulled himself together and impressed the panel on his second attempt.

“You’ve got to get prepared, get focused,” Gary told him, “because I think there’s definitely a lot of potential here.”

Others who made a good impression – and won themselves a place in bootcamp – included James Michael, who was described as “totally unique” by the judges, and pub singer Emma Wright, whose version of Christina Aguilera’s Ain’t No Other Man won particular praise from Tulisa.

“You have amazing potential,” she said, “you’re a little pop star!”

However not everybody was quite so well received – with 52-year-old Graham Bennett failing to impress with his rendition of Ricky Martin’s She Bangs.

Despite his claim that he was “hoping to expand my fanbase” by appearing on the show, Kelly admitted, “I didn’t like that at all,” while Gary was even more incredulous.

“You’re not serious about this are you?” he asked. “You will never get a place in boot camp.”

The final auditions will be screened in a double bill of shows next Saturday and Sunday night.

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