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X Factor 2017: Louis Walsh takes over as Simon Cowell misses auditions

X Factor 2017 judges

Louis Walsh takes charge of The X Factor 2017 as Simon Cowell misses auditions tonight.

Music mogul Simon finds himself stuck in traffic, forcing auditions to begin without him.

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And Louis takes full advantage of Simon's absence, sitting front and center of the judges' panel with Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne either side.

Sharon tells Louis: "You're in charge, you've been in here the longest, you run the show... just put everybody through!"

Louis declares: "I'm in charge today and we're going to find the winner, from Ireland!"

First up to meet the reduced judging panel is, as it happens, Irish make up artist Megan Byrne.

The 26-year-old says: "I just started performing at open mic nights around Dublin and it's going well. When I'm performing I don't even notice anyone around. I just go into a zone and feel completely free.

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"I adore performing so much, it's everything to me."

Can her cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins' I Put A Spell On You get her through to bootcamp?

Another Irish singer who performs for Louis, Sharon and Nicole is 35 year old accounts sales manager Mark Mckeown who sings Westlife's If I Let You Go.

And a THIRD Irish act hoping for an easy yes is

32 year old full-time mum Alice Stafford who sings Shakira's Whenever, Wherever.

Watch all the auditions when the show continues tonight on ITV.

The X Factor 2017 airs tonight at 8PM on ITV.