The X Factor auditions have reached Manchester for the first time this series, in the first of the weekend’s double bill of shows.

And this week Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh were joined by guest judge Nicole Scherzinger, who stood in for both Dannii Minogue and Cheryl Cole – as the Manchester auditions took place at the same time as she was diagnosed with malaria.

However the day got off to a rocky start with a string of no-hopers taking to the stage, among them 44-year-old Rachel Chu. The beautician stunned the judges with her rendition of Saving All My Love For You – for all the wrong reasons.

“This is something that has to be done behind walls…your walls,” Simon said of her high-pitched, tuneless singing.

Some similarly poor acts followed before things finally picked up with the arrival of teenager Aiden Grimshaw. The 18-year-old, from Blackpool, wowed the trio with his performance of Kanye West‘s hit Gold Digger.

“You’re like a breath of fresh air,” Louis told him, “you’ve got your own kind of swagger.” Simon was similarly enthusiastic. “Now that’s what I call a pop star!” he declared.

Also making a good impression was Yuli Minguel, who had travelled all the way from the Netherlands to audition for the show. Happily her efforts proved worthwhile as she was unanimously voted through to bootcamp.

“There’s something about you that gives me goosebumps,” Nicole said. “You’ve got the X Factor girl!”

However 19-year-old Chloe Victoria found herself struggling. Despite her over-confident demeanour the judges were divided after she sang two songs, Summertime and Shakira‘s Underneath Your Clothes – and blamed her poor performances on a number of factors including breaking up with her boyfriend.

Eventually however the panel decided to give her a chance and she scraped through to boot camp. “She’s done this all wrong but I actually think there is something there – I believe it,” Simon said.

Finally, young mum Rebecca Ferguson – who tearfully admitted beforehand she had lost her confidence – took to the stage to deliver her version of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come.

And the judges were impressed. “Your voice really moves me,” Nicole admitted, “but you still have to connect to the people you’re singing to so just keep that in mind.”

And Simon attempted to help her overcome her obvious nerves. “Let me restore confidence to you,” he said, “because I think potentially you have an incredible voice, I genuinely do.”