A line of excited, aspiring singers signalled the arrival of The X Factor New Zealand pre-auditions to Palmerston North.
Auditions for the TV3 series were held at Awapuni Racecourse's function centre yesterday, with several hundred people turning out for their turn to impress.
Some chatted with friends or parents as they waited while others got in some last-minute warmups.
Sitting on the steps leading up to the Silks Lounge, Lawrence Finau, 17, of Levin, was strumming away on his guitar.
Lawrence said he arrived at 8.30am.
He was at least 100 people back in the queue for the auditions that started at 10am.
"I'm just a little bit nervous," he said.
Ash Silk of Palmerston North spied Lawrence in the queue and wandered over.
"Bro, you tap out a beat on your guitar and I'll beat-box," he said.
The two struck up an impromptu performance before Ash, also 17, gave the Manawatu Standard his credentials.
"The fastest I've ever rapped is 50 syllables a second," he said. "I've been rapping for 14 years - ever since I was 4."
Ash said he was encouraged to audition by his brother. He had prepared four of his own songs to perform at the audition.
He was not nervous, he said, but "pumped".
Yesterday's pre-auditions were held in front of the show's executive producers - from there a pool of talent will be selected to audition for the show's judges in front of a live audience in Auckland next month.
The X Factor New Zealand is a local version of the international TV franchise created by Simon Cowell - infamous for his blunt comments while judging.
The show originated in Britain in 2004 and spinoff versions have been made in the United States, France and Australia, among others.
Similar to the Idol franchise, public auditions are held and finalists selected. X Factor judges mentor the contestants.
The X Factor New Zealand will have a judging panel of four, including New Zealand-born pop star Daniel Bedingfield and Stan Walker, who won Australian Idol in 2009. Two female judges, one an international performer and the other local, are yet to be announced.
Former New Zealand Idol host Dominic Bowden will host The X Factor.
- Manawatu Standard
What do you make of New World's Little Shop toys?Related story: Shopping giveaway 'harming children'