THERE were no huge crowds, no mass surge to grab the chance of a lifetime.

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In fact, when the auditions for The X Factor took place in Colchester this week, only one person was waiting when the doors opened.

And to make matters worse for the organisers behind Simon Cowell’s TV programme, Colchester mum, Cher Townrow, had only decided to have a shot at fame after seeing the opportunity advertised minutes before.

The 40-year old said she was totally unprepared when she entered the auditions, held at the Red Lion Hotel in the High Street on Tuesday morning.

“I hadn’t even had time to rehearse, I was walking by and saw the sign and thought I’d give it ago,” said the mother-of-four, who gave a rendition of Behind the Wall by Tracey Chapman and Don’t Cry For Me Argentina from the musical Evita!

“I didn’t know it was on. I haven’t seen any advertising around town. But I’ve been in a couple of bands and thought ‘why not’.

“There were two lady judges, who I didn’t recognise. It was quite embarrassing having to stand there in front of two people without a microphone and music, and just sing.

“It was like a comedy sketch – just me and no-one else. I felt like David Brent from The Office when he makes a fool of himself doing a dance,” added Mrs Townrow, who was unsuccessful in her bid for stardom.

While no-one at the The X-Factor offices was available for comment, this week’s poor turnout is in stark contrast to when the audition roadshow came to Colchester last year and around 100 hopefuls queued to show off their singing prowess. It is also, perhaps, a reflection of The X Factor’s fading popularity.

Last year’s finals programme – when James Arthur was voted winner – was reported to have attracted just over nine million viewers for the first part of the broadcast, more than one million fewer than the previous year.

“They say people are losing interest in the show and maybe this is a sign of it,” added Mrs Townrow, who said her pop idol was Madonna.

“I think if someone is a good enough performer, they will get recognised regardless of whether they go on a programme or not.”

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