NIALL Horan would want to watch his back. Hundreds of fresh-faced, pop-star hopefuls turned out in force yesterday in Dublin as the first stage of auditions for Louis Walsh's new boy band got under way at the Button Factory.
Queues began to form at 11am when the popular live venue opened its doors for registration.
Some carried acoustic guitars – others had flown over from the UK for the chance to perform in front of a panel of judges that included Today FM's Mairead Farrell, Jedward's former tour manager Liam McKenna and, of course, the man himself – music manager and X Factor judge Louis Walsh.
"It has been 12 years since I did auditions for a boy band," said Louis in advance of yesterday's auditions. With a major record company and a high-profile UK partner on board, Walsh is looking to assemble five pop stars to take on the likes of One Direction and The Wanted.
Twins Anthony and Graham Kelly (20) from Sligo hoped to fit the bill. "We came down to give it a go, to audition for Louis and see what he thinks of us and, hopefully, get in this boy band. We've done a bit of singing back home in Sligo, but nothing major."
Dylan Reid (17), from Derry, had made the bus trip to Dublin early that morning with friends Rory Cooke (17) and Jason Flynn (20).
And while Louis was looking for males between the ages of 16 and 25, it seems he was willing to make exceptions for some.
"I'm a bit of a veteran," said Cormac O'Daly (28), from Tralee. I used to be in a boy band called The Celtic Kings, so this isn't a new experience, but the nerves still kick in."
Each singer was asked to perform a song of their choice. And some were more relaxed than others.
"It's my first audition. I'll just go in and see what I feel like singing," said Jamie Reilly (17), from Navan.
John Heenan (22), from Tipperary said: "I flew over to Manchester last weekend to audition for The X Factor, and I didn't get through, so I said I'd come back today and see how it goes."
The auditions continue today and tomorrow at the Button Factory from midday.