HORDES of screaming fans turned-out to catch their first glimpse of the new-look X Factor panel last week.
Thousands of people had flocked to Solihull’s LG Arena, where auditions for the next series got underway.
American-singer Kelly Rowland, Take That star Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos of N-Dubz fame are the programme’s new judges.
They will join avuncular Irishman Louis Walsh to cast an eye over the next crop of wannabe pop stars.
Arriving at the venue last Wednesday, they were ushered past the fans and inside, to hear the first batch of hopefuls.
Twenty-two-year-old Tulisa is being tipped as the new Cheryl Cole, who left the show under something of a cloud last month.
“I’m going to be myself,” said the singer. “I’m ambitious and feisty but I’m also a massive softy at heart.
“I know what I’m talking about when it comes to music so hopefully I’ll be a good mentor.”
Gary, who steps into Simon Cowell’s shoes, said that he’d managed to fit auditions around Take That’s tour dates.
“Luckily they’ve fitted it around my schedule. I’m excited about it, to be honest there’s no other chair I’d sit in.”
And Louis, the only judge who remains from last year’s panel, said: “We want to find stars, that’s our job.
“We want to find an amazing worldwide artist this year.”
Also entertaining the crowds at last week’s auditions were the show’s host Dermot O’Leary and one-time contestant Olly Murrs.
Now in its eighth year, The X Factor will be returning to TV screens in August.