Busking brothers Sean and Conor Price earn a place in the next round of The X Factor
There were plenty of popular singers in the latest episode of the show.
Busking brothers Sean and Conor Price impressed The X Factor judges with a fresh take on an old classic, as they managed to give Nicole Scherzinger “goosebumps on my goosebumps”.
Their performance was also deemed so good by Simon Cowell, he declared it “one of the best auditions we’ve had”.
The siblings from Blessington, Ireland, offered up a modern rendition of Bob Dylan's All Along The Watchtower, complete with rapping from guitar-playing Sean, 17, and singing from 15-year-old Conor.
Following a rapturous round of applause, Cowell told the Price brothers: “This is probably one of the best auditions we’ve had. I’m going to say something to you guys – I don’t want to change a single thing from what I saw and heard today.”
Cowell described the boys, who wanted to add “youth and energy” to the Bob Dylan-penned track, as “rare”.
He added: “Every so often I sit in these auditions and think… thank God we found people like you.”
Scherzinger told them they have the “It Factor”, before telling her colleagues that the boys’ performance gave her double goosebumps.
They were given four yes votes and have earned a place in the Bootcamp round of the ITV reality programme.
Another busking hopeful in the audition room was 24-year-old Gregor Coleman from Glasgow, but his first audition – a cover of Riptide by Vance Joy in which he used his guitar – failed to woo the judges.
Stopping him mid-way through, Cowell said: “I need you to do something which sets you apart, because that’s like everything else I’m hearing right now, and what you would do busking.”
He added that it was “very quick, very throwaway”, while judge Louis Walsh agreed that it was “forgettable”.
Cowell advised him to rethink his style and gave him a second chance, prompting Coleman to later return to the audition room to sing Rihanna’s Stay, his instrument left behind.
Following his second attempt, Cowell commended him: “I really admire you for what you’ve just done, it felt believable, it felt really authentic.”
He told Coleman that he went from “a busker to an artist”, and Alesha Dixon – who stood in for judge Sharon Osbourne for some of the auditions – said she liked how “vulnerable” he was.
He received four yeses from the judges and will compete in the next round of the competition, along with returning singer Tracy Leanne Jefford, who first appeared on the show in 2006.
After telling the judges that she has recently divorced after 17 years of marriage, the 34-year-old mother and member of the travelling community from Middlesex saw her emotional rendition of the Shirelles’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow get her a place in Bootcamp.
Scherzinger told her: “I love it, it was so transparent. You meant every word, you’re so beautiful. I think you’re going to watch this back and hopefully fall in love with yourself.”
Cowell said: “I wasn’t just judging you on your performance… I think you told us enough that I was kind of judging this performance on something a little bit more than that. That you are hurt and you used this opportunity to do something.”
He added: “You deserve to be here… the fact you are really memorable, likeable, a real voice, exactly the kind of person we love on this show. I’m excited.”
Another hopeful who was highly praised and made it through to Bootcamp was nervous singer Benji Matthews, 17, whose rendition of Alicia Keys’ If I Ain’t Got You saw him dubbed “a rough diamond” by Cowell.
Russell Jones, a 25-year-old nursing home singer from Wales enthralled with his cover of The Jungle Book’s I Wanna Be Like You, complete with dancing.
Cowell said: “It was a great audition, the fact it’s kind of old school, kind of jazzy – it makes you distinct.”
The X Factor continues on Sunday at 8pm on ITV.