X Factor kicks off as musical hopefuls work to win viewers over


An unlikely female rapper called Honey G, a band of five affable northern lads and a nervous but tuneful joiner are set to win over the hearts of the nation as the new series of The X Factor kicks off tonight.

The ITV series starts with a bang as a collection of talented - and not so talented - singers attempt to woo the judges into giving them a spot in the competition with their first auditions.

Show boss Simon Cowell is joined by returning judges Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne for the 13th series, in which they will revisit the beloved intimate room auditions.

The first two episodes will air on Saturday and Sunday, with the judges travelling to Manchester and Edinburgh to get a taste for the pop star potential in the two cities.

Self-professed "genuine urban artist" Honey G, otherwise known as 35-year-old Anna Georgette Guilford, stuns the judges with her take on rapper Missy Elliott's hit Work It.

After grabbing her crotch during the performance, an irked Cowell tells her she "shouldn't be doing that" while Scherzinger and Osbourne are clearly fans of her style.

Five-piece boy band Yes Lad wow the judges with a harmonious version of Justin Timberlake's Can't Stop the Feeling! in Manchester, with Cowell enthusing over "one star" in the group.

A heart-wrenching moment comes when dyslexic joiner James Wilson, 34, reveals his struggle to learn lyrics and almost falters during his pitch-perfect audition.

However, he finishes on a high with compliments and advice from all four judges who are moved by his version of Ray LaMontagne's Jolene.

Across the two episodes, viewers will also see auditions from a 16-year-old girl with powerhouse vocals and a 29-year-old singer from Finland who covers Sia's Chandelier flawlessly.

There is also a mullet-styled security guard who, at 41, has been making his own music for years but doesn't quite manage to impress the panel with his self-penned piano dance ballad.

After the audition rooms are complete, the successful contestants move to the Bootcamp stage to battle it out before making it to the next round, the dreaded Six Chair Challenge.

The hopefuls will be whittled down to six plus an additional wildcard choice in each category - the Girls, the Boys, the Overs and the Groups - before being whisked across the world to take part in Judges' Houses.

A final three from each category will then be picked by their mentor to go through to the live shows.

:: The X Factor begins on Saturday August 27 on ITV1 at 8pm, with a second episode on Sunday at the same time.