X FACTOR hopefuls have been singing their hearts out in a bid to make it big today.
Scores of entrants queued up as the pre-auditions began yesterday at The Bridges shopping centre in Sunderland, nervously rehearsing their songs and strumming their guitars as they awaited their chance to impress the panel.
The ITV programme makers returned to the city after after holding auditions at the Empire theatre last year.
Those who made it through this time will now go on to the next round at the Sage in Gateshead.
Among them was Wayne Ellis, 17, from Grindon, who is studying engineering at Sunderland College’s Shiney Row campus.
The singer and guitarist entered after his mum Katrina urged him showcase his talents. He plays in various bars and clubs across Sunderland, drawing on music by Oasis and The Stone Roses, as well as his own material.
He said: “It would mean everything to me really, a career. Just to get up on to the big stage would be amazing.”
Elizabeth Forster, from Red House planned to perform a song which reminded her of her friend Gavin Sawyer, who died 18 months ago. The 28-year-old, who is mum to Khira, eight, and Kenza, seven, said: “I’ve been rehearsing over the last couple of days and I can dance as well.
“I sang for my family last night and they were all crying and said I was really good.”
Samantha Lavery, a pupil at St Leonard’s RC School in Durham, was accompanied by grandparents Ernest and Sonia Peachy, both 71.
Samantha, 14, takes after her grandad, who sang in clubs across Sunderland in his younger days as Ernie Ross.
This was her first chance to audition for The X Factor after it lowered its entry age. She has already won first place in the Soundwave competition held in Newcastle earlier this year, and is also taking part in the TeenStar talent competition.
She said: “It will be amazing just to stand up in front of the judges and let them hear me sing and get out there.
“It’s a great experience and I can always come back again next year.”
Rebecca McDougall, 18, from Plains Farm, already performs with Beyond Forever, an alternative rock group.
“It was really good and they were really nice to me and put my nerves at ease a bit. I sing all sorts – Etta James, Bruno Mars, Adele, Guns and Roses.” said the mum of Kai, two, and Isaac, two months.
“I’ve not just done it for me, it’s for the bairns really to provide for them.”