Cheryl emotional after former protégé returns to X-Factor auditions

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini wipes away a tear during Amy Connelly's audition Credit: ITV/PA Wire

The new series of X-Factor began with a blast from the past for judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini when one of her former protégés returned.

Amy Connelly, 25, lost out at the Judges' Houses stage in 2008. She has since started a family and is working as a betting shop assistant, but said she decided to audition when she heard Cheryl was returning to the panel.

Cheryl was left wiping away tears during her performance. She said afterwards:

That was really beautiful, it was captivating. Honestly, this is like a flashback for me, it's something that you do to me, we just have a connection.

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

X-Factor supremo Simon Cowell had his own emotional moment when, out of sheer exasperation at the number of "identical" male singers with guitars, he smashed a guitar to pieces on set.

Yet one guitar-wielding contestant, 15-year-old Reece Bibby, managed to stand out from the rest, winning approval from all of the judges.

Surprisingly, Reece was not the youngest contestant to take advantage of new rules that throw out the 16-year age limit. Charlie Jones, 14, won four 'Yeses' from the judges for his One Direction cover.

Other contestants making their mark early on were sisters Jazzy and Ruby, who perform together as Blonde Electric.

Their eccentric style and version of Jessie J's Do It Like A Dude divided opinion with Cowell admitting he was "fascinated" by them.

He said: "It's like literally you've been invented by Louis in a computer to create the most annoying girl group in the world."

The judges also loved the "natural soul" of Chloe O'Gorman, 17, while Simon Cowell had high praise for Lauren Platt, 16, telling her: "We may have found somebody special".

Melanie Brown vented her frustration at having to sit on a panel with Cheryl after yet another doting admirer sang her praises.

One such admirer, Ben Quinlan, presented her with a green rose before making "uncomfortable eye contact" as he serenaded her. Mel B demanded to know why he hadn't brought a rose for her.

Less impressive was 42-year-old Skegness hairdresser Jale Antor, who came to her audition dressed as Cheryl in the Fight For This Love video before performing her own unique take on the song.

Another contestant, 63-year-old Carol, gave a memorable audition when she began taking her clothes off in the middle of a Tina Turner cover.

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