X Factor judges Simon Cowell, Rita Ora and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini lost composure as they watched aspiring singers audition in the lates episode of the show.
The TV mogul appeared visibly affected by 21-year-old Josh Daniel's emotional rendition of Jealous by Labrinth, which also moved Fernandez-Versini to tears.
Explaining his choice of song at the Manchester audition, the car mechanic from Durham said on last night's show: "I lost my best friend a couple of years ago and I interpret the lyrics in a completely different way."
Cowell bit his lip and appeared to wipe away a tear during Daniel's performance, which got a standing ovation and three 'yeses' from the judging panel - Ora was absent due to a schedule clash.
The X Factor auditions at Event City in Manchester were postponed after the death of Cowell's mother Julie Brett, 89, on Sunday July 5. Friends said he was "completely heartbroken".
Cowell left comments on Daniel's heartrending audition to fellow judges Fernandez-Versini and Nick Grimshaw. "That really got me right in the heart," the BBC Radio 1 DJ said.
Fernandez-Versini added: "That was the most captivated I've been in all the auditions so far," before she asked to give Daniel a hug. As the 32-year-old headed to the stage, she gently placed a hand of support on Cowell.
The head judge gave Daniel a wink before leaving the panel. A concerned Fernandez-Versini said "leave him" as he walked off alone.
Tears also flowed at the SSE Arena in Wembley during 24-year-old Sean Miley Moore's audition.
The Australian, now living in London, hit all the right notes with his version of Queen's The Show Must Go On.
He sobbed as a tearful Ora told him: "There is nothing I can say to you apart from I am so happy you came on this show!"
Other aspiring singers through to the next round of the ITV show included 21-year-old Brighton market trader Chloe Paige, who impressed with her version of Katy B's Crying For No Reason, and London boy band The First Kings.
The five members wowed with a professionally-packaged audition to Mark Ronson's Uptown Funk featuring Bruno Mars that incorporated their own introduction VT and choreographed backing dancers. To cheers, Ora exclaimed: "Mash it up, mash it up, mash it up - boom! That for me mashed it up."
The third episode of The X Factor will air at 8.15pm on Saturday September 5.