Singers battled it out at the start of The Longridge X-Factor - hoping to win the £1,000 prize

The Longridge X-Factor judges. From l-r: guest judge Tara Brown with Jane Priest, Pete Bennett and Alan Gillhespy.
The Longridge X-Factor judges. From l-r: guest judge Tara Brown with Jane Priest, Pete Bennett and Alan Gillhespy.

Crowds gathering for the long awaited return of ‘The Longridge X-Factor’ were left in jubilant mood after a variety of singers battled it out to reach the next stage of the contest offering a £1,000 prize.

Singer-guitarists Matt Swinburn, Charlotte Lily and Cat Perrin-Griffiths won the hearts of judges Alan Gillhespy, Pete Bennett and Jane Priest together with guest judge Tara Brown, with their guitar and singing prowess, all securing spots for ‘Boot Camp’.

A guitarist himself, lead judge Alan Gillhespy paid homage to the fine standard of these three acts and former winner turned judge Pete said: “I didn’t like you, I loved you!” after Charlotte’s opening performance.

Vicky Campbell left the crowd breathless as she sang ‘They just keep on moving the line’, winning unanimous support from the judges.

Longridge Legend Sam Robinson had the bar rocking with his version of Paul Simon’s ‘Call me Al’ and the crowd erupted as he started swinging his shirt around his head, clearly looking to woo judges Jane and Tara. “It’s all about having good preparation,” Sam said, “Usually about 13 Guinesses and I hit my optimum, I can’t wait for the next stage.”

Alan was not afraid to speak his mind, as Ste.. ‘the voice’ Woodend found out, as a last minute entrant. Ste stumbled on a couple of words which Alan picked up on. However, the other three judges decided his class was far too great to fall at this early stage of the competition.

In an interesting twist, Pete’s father Paul Bennett showed his class with an emotional performance of ‘Never give up on a good thing’. Despite a ‘no’ from his son, he won the support of the other three judges.

Veteran performer Amanda Turner sent the crowd wild with her saucy rendition of ‘Bootylicious’ but had the judges split with two ‘yes’ and two ‘no’ votes. In a nail biting tie break with Ethan Jessop for the ‘wild card’ place, judges gave her the nod, which was clearly to the pleasure of the many people who stayed until the end.

Presenter, Paul Gavaghan said: “What a start to the Longridge X-Factor, a phenomenal night was had by all. I’d encourage anyone that missed out to join us at the next one.”

Held at Billy’s Wine Bar, the contest is raising funds for Miles for Mitchie, the cancer appeal set up after three-year-old Mitchell Brown, from Longridge, was disgnosed with a brain tumour.

The next audition is April 23 when guest judge will be Longridge Mayor, Coun Rupert Swarbrick. Anyone wishing to enter should email kerry@billyswinebar.co.uk.