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Stripped-back auditions bring X Factor back to its roots

Just 37 acts will perform in front of the X Factor's celebrity judging panel in Gateshead, without an audience, in a stripped-back audition process.

Cheryl Cole superfans wait for the judges' arrival on the red carpet

Open auditions held already across the UK - including Gateshead and South Shields - have whittled down the number of contestants.

Those remaining will audition in a room at the Baltic art gallery in front of a returning Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole, veteran Louis Walsh, and new judge Mel B.

In previous years, auditions have been in front of a large theatre audience, but this time, they will start in a small room, similar to the initial years of the show.

X Factor's Louis Walsh arrives at North East audition

The X Factor's longest-serving judge, Louis Walsh, has arrived punctually at the North East auditions in Gateshead. He was greeted by fans lining a red carpet, which has been laid outside the Sage Gateshead on the Quayside.

Louis Walsh
Louis Walsh had his sunglasses on for a hot day on the Gateshead Quayside
Louis Walsh
Louis Walsh walks the red carpet in the North East

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Is this the next winner of the X Factor?

X Factor auditions are well underway in Gateshead, with hopefuls queuing to see the four judges - Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh. This man was pulled out of the crowd for an interview - could he be the next North East winner of the X Factor?

The auditions are taking place at the Baltic, on the banks of the River Tyne in Gateshead
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