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Plymouth targeted for X Factor auditions

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: April 01, 2013

By MARTIN FREEMAN Herald Reporter

  • Above: A contestant woos the X Factor judging panel – Louis Walsh, Tulisa Contostavlos, Nicole Scherzinger and Gary Barlow

  • LOCAL TALENT: Award-winning musicians Seth Lakeman (above) and Ben Howard (bottom right) and Britain's Got Talent finalist Michael Collings

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X Factor bosses are in discussions about holding auditions in Plymouth.

Several venues have been contacted by the ITV talent search programme.

The city is said to be under consideration to diversify the talent and maintain national interest in the top-rated show.

The news comes after reports that regular venue Liverpool has been cut from the hugely popular series.

Merseyside has provided several finalists in the past. But X Factor insiders were said to have been underwhelmed by the talent the home of the Beatles threw up for last year's series.

The events attract huge crowds to regular venues such as Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff and London.

Plymouth has never hosted a full audition event. However the city was a port of call for a mobile kiosk which visited Plymouth Pavilions in 2012.

It is understood that a number of locations are under consideration for use by the X Factor. Discussions are at an early stage.

But the city's biggest music venue will not be involved. A spokesman for the Pavilions said the arena would not be hosting try-outs in 2013.

"Since the X Factor mobile auditions were held outside Plymouth Pavilions last year, there has always been a keen interest in the city by the producers of the show," said Robert Maltby, marketing officer for the venue.

"There has been a lot of rumours recently, but I can confirm Plymouth Pavilions won't be hosting the 2013 auditions."

If Plymouth were selected for a full audition, the city could look forward to exposure to a huge TV audience.

The nine series of the Simon Cowell creation have attracted audiences that have peaked at more than 19 million for the final. The city has yet to make a big impact with a performer in the X Factor.

But one contestant who enjoyed a long run in another ITV talent search believes there is a large pool of potential stars in Plymouth.

Britain's Got Talent 2011 finalist Michael Collings, who runs open mic sessions in the city, said: "It would definitely be good for Plymouth if the auditions came here.

"There is a lot of talent about."

Plymouth has been the proving ground for a number of Devon performers who have gone on to national success and acclaim in recent years.

They include internationally renowned folk man Seth Lakeman, who grew up in Buckland Monachorum, and Ben Howard, the Totnes-based singer-songwriter who was named Best Male Artist in the 2013 Brits.

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