THE X Factor has landed.
Bosses of the ITV1 talent show are spending the day in South Shields in search of the next big singing star.
The show’s producers are today at The Customs House, in Mill Dam, holding open auditions for the new series of the show.
The venue’s executive director, Ray Spencer, said: “It almost feels like The X Factor has come home.
“We certainly have a number of talented people here in South Tyneside, so they’ve got a very good chance of finding a star here.
“This is a great opportunity for us. We’re also involved in The Great North Passion on Friday, so for, The Customs House to be involved with the two big TV channels in one week is just fantastic.
“I hope to see lots of people coming along today to audition and good luck to everyone who does.”
Three previous winners of the show have already come from South Shields.
Joe McElderry, from Westoe, claimed victory in 2009, and has since gone on to release four studio albums.
The 22-year-old is on his biggest-ever solo tour, the Set Your Soul Alive Tour, playing more than 60 venues around the UK.
Then in 2011, South Shields girls Perrie Edwards, of Whiteleas, and Jade Thirlwall, of Laygate, entered the show as solo artists.
The girls made it to the bootcamp stages of the talent contest before they were put into a girl band with fellow contestants Jesy Nelson and Leigh-Anne Pinnock. Little Mix, became the first group to win the show. They have since released two albums, secured two No.1 singles and travelled all over the world.
They recently returned from supporting US songstress Demi Lovato on her tour in America, and have just announced their own tour dates in the States.
They also recorded this year’s official Sport Relief charity single, a cover of Cameo’s Word Up!
The auditions kick off at 10am and run until 3pm, or 4.30pm for those in full-time education.
The trials are in front of the show’s producers – not the judges – who will select candidates to advance to the televised auditions.
n We’ll be heading down to The Customs House today to chat to some of the auditionees.
Don’t miss tomorrow’s Gazette for a report and pictures and log on to www.shieldsgazette.com to see video of the hopefuls.