A crowd of hundreds gathered outside the Assembly Rooms to catch a glimpse of the X-Factor judges as they returned to the Capital to film the second round of try-outs for this year’s show.
Several of the most devoted young fans spent the night on the George Street pavement to grab the best spots and some were moved to tears when they finally got the chance to meet star judges including Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and former Spice Girl Mel B.
But the biggest cheers were reserved for the arrival of singer Cheryl Cole, who is returning to the show after a three-year absence. The judges were each welcomed in style by two bagpipers as the crowd grew to several deep as word spread of the celebrity appearance.
Having recently celebrated her 31st birthday, former Girls Aloud star Cole was treated to a bagpiped version of Happy Birthday, sparking an impromptu sing-song from loyal fans who also presented her with cake and presents. She returned the favour by posing for “selfie” photos with them.
X Factor fans travelled hundreds of miles from Blackpool and even crossed the sea from Northern Ireland to greet the judges.
Saoirse Weir, 18, was among the handful of fans who had camped overnight, and after meeting Cole and having her picture taken with the singer, the Northern Irish teenager became glassy-eyed and said: “I want to cry, I love her.
“She’s my favourite person ever. I have travelled to London and here to see her. She hugged me.”
Samantha Fraser, 14, persuaded her uncle, Charlie, and friend Duncan Smith to wait for hours to see the celebrities and said that she was “delighted”.
The Aberdeen teenager, who was visiting family in the Capital, said: “I am very excited. I have always really liked Cheryl from the start of Girls Aloud.”
Second to arrive was Boyzone creator Louis Walsh, who took time out to speak with fans and pose for pictures. He asked fans to take “selfies” with him but admitted he struggled with smartphones.
Former Spice Girl Mel B – a new judge for this series – paused briefly for pictures before striding purposefully into the Assembly Rooms.
X Factor supremo Simon Cowell appeared to screams and delighted fans by walking along George Street to speak to admirers.
In April, musical hopefuls sang to show producers at Murrayfield while this week’s round was the first time they would face the judges.