COULD the winner of this year’s X Factor be a Mackem?
Producers of the hit ITV show certainly think a Wearsider could be in with a shot of taking the top spot after being impressed with talent in the city.
For the first time, the talent show held auditions in Sunderland today.
Hundreds queued outside the Sunderland Empire from as early as 6am to be part of the X Factor Mobile Auditions.
Though the star judges weren’t present, it was a chance for wannabe popstars to showcase their talents in front of producers.
Luke Common, 17, from Blackfell in Washington, was among those who got a “yes” from the auditions, meaning he will now go in front of the judges at a larger event in Manchester.
“I sang Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N Roses,” he said. “I was quite nervous beforehand, but once I got in there and started singing, that all went away.
“I’m studying musical theatre at Newcastle College at the minute and I also go to Gala Theatre Stage School in Durham, so singing is a career I definitely want to do. I was going to go to Newcastle last year to audition but chickened out, so when I found out that auditions were coming to Sunderland, I knew I had to give it a shot.”
Despite a number of X Factor winners hailing from the North East, bosses announced that they would not be holding judges’ auditions in Newcastle this year – making the Sunderland leg of the process an all the more important way to tap into talent.
X Factor production runner Joe Bass said: “We’ve been really busy today and we’ve met some great people. The Mobile Auditions are a chance to visit smaller cities and towns to try and find people who may not be able to come along to the big city auditions. Last year’s winner James Arthur initially auditioned at a Mobile Audition in Middlesbrough because he couldn’t afford the bus fare to Newcastle.
“People who’ve auditioned today have been given a yes or no straight away and we’ll be seeing them again at the larger auditions in April and May.”
Paige Machin, 16, from Seaham, attended the auditions with fellow budding singers John Hough, 17, from Thorney Close, Daniel Hayes, 17, from Seaham, and Rachel Briggs, 17, from Sunderland.
She said: “We queued for about two hours before we got to see the producers.
“It was freezing in the queue, but everyone was really excited. There were people singing too which was a bit intimidating.
“This was a great opportunity to be seen though.”