The X Factor judges, from left, Guy Sebastian, James Blunt, Dannii Minogue and Chris Isaak.
The X Factor judges, from left, Guy Sebastian, James Blunt, Dannii Minogue and Chris Isaak. Channel 7

Singing dreams take flight in the return of The X Factor

THE return of The X Factor saw singers overcome nerves, stereotypes and near-death experiences.

Ten singers progressed to the boot camp round of the reality singing show last night after impressing the judging panel.

Returning judges Dannii Minogue and Guy Sebastian are this year joined by international singers James Blunt and Chris Isaak.

There were several stand-outs from last night's first auditions. Singers need a yes from at least three judges to advance to the next round.

Shark attack survivor Lisa Mondy hadn't sung for four years when she took to The X Factor stage.

"This is a big step for me towards the end of my recovery," the 28-year-old said before performing London Grammar's Strong.

Lisa Mondy performs on The X Factor.
Lisa Mondy performs on The X Factor. Contributed

"Up until today people referred to you as the girl who was bit by the shark; that's going to change," Isaak said.

"(Now) you're going to be that great singer."

Despite coming from a professional singing background, Natalie Conway's crippling nerves were evident from the moment she walked on to the stage.

Conway broke down in tears after receiving a standing ovation from the audience for her rendition of the dance track Everybody's Free.

"Who gets nervous when they've got that in the can?" Sebastian said.

"I'm such a fan; I don't know where you've been hiding."

Speaking of fans, all four judges were confident three-piece boy band In Stereo will soon have teens "fan girling" over them.

The three schoolmates - Chris, Ethan and Jacob - also received a standing ovation for their performance of Taylor Swift's Style.

"Sometimes when you've got three people on a stage they will start with the strong singer and it will go down from there," Isaak said.

The trio In Stereo performs on The X Factor.
The trio In Stereo performs on The X Factor. Contributed

"It started off with Chris and I went 'wow this guy plays guitar and he sings great'. Then it went over to Jacob and I was like 'wow it just keeps getting better' and then it got to Ethan and I don't know how to say it, but you owned it."

Chris should look familiar to viewers as one of the finalists to come out of The Voice Kids. Sixteen-year-old Maddison Milewski is another Voice Kids alumni.

Sebastian also subtly referenced blues singer Roshani Priddis' background as an Australian Idol contestant (season six).

The reappearance of several reality show contestants wasn't lost on more eagle-eyed viewers and commentators.

Railway worker "Big T" was one of the fresh talents featured last night.

The big bloke, who came to his audition in his high-vis work clothes, lit up the room with his high-energy rendition of Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

The only singer to divide the panel was trucking company worker Adrian Espulso (an aspiring actor who is also a former contestant from Ten's I Will Survive).

While Blunt didn't think Epulso had enough time to improve to the level of the other singers, the other three judges agreed to give the 26-year-old a go.

The X Factor auditions continue tomorrow at 7.30pm on Channel 7.


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