Where have the crowds gone? Simon Cowell may not be happy with the turnout at X Factor auditions


The X Factor usually draws crowds of hopeful aspiring singers aiming to impress Simon Cowell and the rest of the talent show judges.

But when the ITV show rolled in to Tyneside for open auditions, the turnout was distinctly unimpressive.

Former X Factor winner Steve Brookstein, an outspoken critic of the show, tweeted a photo of somewhat empty pavement where the crowds should be.

According to the Evening Chronicle, fewer than 100 people came through the doors at the Sage Gateshead in the first hour - compared with the thousands who queued round the block when the show was in town two years ago.

But a spokesman from the X Factor told the Express that the number of hopefuls was "healthy".

"The numbers are higher than last year for Newcastle, so it isn't a poor turnout," the spokesman said.

Dermot O'Leary has returned to The X Factor
Dermot O'Leary has returned to The X Factor (Freemantle Media UK)

"Overall we've had tens of thousands of people apply for this series, so numbers are healthy. I've just spoken to the team in Newcastle and numbers are actually good ... As soon as contestants arrive they are being taken straight into the building and waiting in a holding room ahead of their audition rather than queuing outside."

The lack of crowds was despite the North East's strong track record in the show, with past winners including Joe McElderry and James Arthur, as well as Little Mix stars Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards.

Joe McElderry
Joe McElderry (Joel Ryan/Invision)

Jade Holmes, who arrived in Newcastle before 6am for her audition, found herself the first one there.

She told the newspaper: "I was driving around for hours expecting to see queues of people."

The aspiring singer had a "no" from producers for her take on Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, but said she may try rival show The Voice - or return to The X Factor the following year.

Lauren Vaughan, 16, travelled down from Edinburgh with her dad to try out for the show.

The singer, who was unsuccessful, said her father was anticipating a long wait - and had been surprised by the lack of X Factor banners waiting to greet them.