PICTURE GALLERY: The X Factor comes to Norwich

The eyes of The X Factor were on Norwich yesterday as the hit TV talent show rolled into the city in search of Britain's next superstar.

Leona Lewis, Little Mix and Alexandra Burke are among the names to hit the big time thanks to the ITV show, and yesterday crowds of singers gathered in Norwich in the hope of following in their footsteps.

This year The X Factor is taking a mobile audition van to towns and cities The X Factor arena auditions tour does not reach – and the van spent yesterday auditioning people outside The Forum.

Among 100 hopefuls had gathered at The Forum by the time the auditions started at 10.30am and throughout the day many more joined the queue hoping to prove that they truly had The X Factor.

While the show would not reveal how many people attended the Norwich auditions, a spokesman said they were pleased with the turnout and the amount of talent they had seen.

The Evening News has also spoken to a number of would-be stars who made it through the first and second rounds of yesterday's auditions, and who are now anxiously waiting to hear if they are to go any further in the competition and perhaps face the 2012 celebrity judging panel which includes Take That star Gary Barlow and Louis Walsh.

Among them was 25-year-old Emma Nuule, from the Drayton Road area of Norwich, who impressed with the gospel number His Eye Is On The Sparrow from one of the Sister Act films.

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'It's so exciting. I'm trying to calm down but I keep checking my emails or hoping the phone will ring,' she said last night.

About her first audition she said: 'I did not have a chance to get nervous. I got to the front and thought, 'I am just going to do this.'

Emma, who is married to South African Josef Nuule and has two children Taleni, nine months, and Kleophas, five, has been singing since she was about 12 and went to Norwich's Central School of Dancing and Performing Arts.

She last appeared on stage at Norwich Theatre Royal in Fiddler on the Roof with the Norfolk and Norwich Operatics Society and sings in the band at the Vineyard Church in Thorpe St Andrew.

'If I were to do well in The X Factor, I would like to use that to set up a performing arts school for children in South Africa,' she said.

'I want to be successful so I can set up this school because the children in South Africa are so talented. It is a big dream and I thought this could be a step towards that.'

Twenty-three-year-old office assistant Lucy De Luna, from Baker Street, Stalham, is also now hoping for a call to say she is through to the next round after impressing with performances of Chaka Khan's Ain't Nobody and Adele's One and Only.

'I am very, very happy - I've just opened a bottle of wine,' she told the Evening News last night.

After her first audition she said: 'It was really good. There was one guy watching and a spotlight. I was just in my zone and not thinking about anything else other than what I was singing.'

When asked why she wanted to win The X Factor she said: 'Music brings people together. It is so much fun and makes people so happy, and I want to do that forever.'

Beauty therapist Jennifer Bushell, 23 and from Cedar Road, in Norwich, had lost her voice in the run-up to the auditions but fortunately her voice recovered in time for yesterday, and she sang Mary J Blige's I'm Goin' Down and Alicia Keys' Fallin'.

'The audition was with only one person so it was not too intimidating. It went really quickly so I wasn't as nervous as I thought I would be,' said Jennifer, who sings in The Rock Choir in Norwich, after her first audition,

'To do something you like all the time would be brilliant - being able to sing all the time would be great. It would be living out my dream.'

Seventeen-year-old City College Norwich student Christina Watson, from Horsford, sang Alicia Keys' Fallin' and said she wanted to make her village famous.

'I'm really excited. I'm still in shock,' she said about hearing the news that she may be going through to the arena audition tour.

Mile Cross students Adama Dibba, 18, and Munirah Amin, 16, joined forces with 16-year-old student Ellie May from Horsham St Faiths to form girl band Devotion especially for The X Factor auditions. Their rendition of Drake's Find Your Love proved a success and they are now waiting to hear if they will be called back to the arena audition tour.

There were of course many that unfortunately did not make it through the auditions but they said they had lots of fun taking part.

Clive Dyball, also known as Mr Vampire, and who lives in Marlborough Road, Norwich, waited from 7am to audition.

The sixty-seven-year-old used to be in the rock band The Vampires in the 1960s and has been doing karaoke for the last 18 months. Yesterday her performed Bobby Vee's Take Good Care Of My Baby.

'I enjoyed it and I'm not really disheartened that it was no,' he said.

'The girl in front of me didn't get through either and she had a beautiful voice. Not everyone can go through.

'I just wanted to get a little bit more exposure because I want to do some more charity work. I want to raise money for Papworth Hospital because I had a double heart bypass there and they saved my life - I have never felt better.'

Office worker Hollie Sulter, 23 and from Lakenham, sang Something's Got A Hold On Me from the show Burlesque but unfortunately did not make through.

Hollie, who used to work as a female vocalist for Haven's Caister Holiday Park, said: 'It was a no but it is all good experience and it was a good day. If they come to Norwich again I'll probably try again.'

She added that she was pleased to see that yesterday she was one of the favourites in the Evening News' online poll of some of singers who auditioned.

Events management student Starbuck Friend, 21 and who lives near Magdalen Street in Norwich, was the first person to audition, but after singing Rabbit Heart by Florence and the Machine she too was given a no.

She said it had been a good experience but she would have liked to have had more feedback on what she should do different next time.

Norwich Busker Robbie Apollo Guthrie sung the Bob Dylan version of Knockin' On Heaven's Door but the 24-year-old from the Dereham Road area of Norwich did not go through to the next round.

He said he was a little bit frustrated he did not go through to the next round but said he had a fantastic time meeting really nice people in the queue.

• To see videos of some of the singers from yesterday's auditions and to vote for your favourite performer visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk

• A picture gallery of the auditions can also be viewed at www.eveningnews24.co.uk

• Do you know somebody who is going to be on TV? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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