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The first round of X Factor auditions have kicked off in London, with crowds gathering at the ExCel centre in their bid to impress the judges.

Show host Dermot O’Leary was on hand to greet the crowds – and despite recent reports suggesting that regional try outs had been poorly attended, he said the hopefuls in London were as keen as ever.

“You just get surprised all the time. The crowd are just brilliant,” Dermot told ITV News.

“Football fans will tell you it’s like the third round of the FA Cup of the first game of the season.

“You’ve got a real sense of excitement. You meet people you’ve never met before and in all walks of life as well. There’s so many characters – that’s why I love it,” he added.

The auditions come hot on the heels of news that the next series will go ‘back to basics’ during its early stages.

According to reports hopefuls will have to audition for the judges in a small venue first before being given a second audition in front of a live audience.

Filming on the new series of The X Factor kicks off in June.