VIDEO: X Factor hopefuls sing their hearts out in Belfast

One Direction, Leona Lewis and Olly Murs have all hit the big time but they took the first steps to stardom in front of the X Factor judges.

On Monday it was the turn of a new wave of hopefuls giving it their all in front of the camera – and the curious onlookers in Belfast city centre.

Contestants at the X Factor auditions at Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast

Contestants at the X Factor auditions at Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast

The would-be chart toppers queued throughout the day to get a few minutes recording time in a temporary booth in the Victoria Square shopping centre.

The Belfast audition session was one of 50 being held across the UK and Ireland by the hit ITV show.

One star in the making was 16-year-old Caitlin McLaughlin from Co Donegal, who got a rousing ovation from an appreciative audience taking up every vantage point on the stairs and balconies of the shopping centre.

She performed two songs in the makeshift, open top, recording studio – the Foo Fighters’ Best Of You and Use Somebody by the Kings of Leon – much to the delight of the Belfast public.

Jacob Koopman had already auditioned in Dublin but travelled to Belfast with musical partner Gus Matheus

Jacob Koopman had already auditioned in Dublin but travelled to Belfast with musical partner Gus Matheus

Caitlin already teaches guitar and is in great demand for local weddings and other occasions, but she’s not quite ready to give up on her studies for full-time work just yet.

“This is my first time trying something like the X Factor,” she said.

“I really don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll be going to college but we’ll see what happens,” Caitlin added.

Proud mum Maureen was in Belfast supporting Caitlin and said she would encourage her to make a career in music if the break comes along.

“The thought of it is a wee bit frightening but she loves her music and sings from morning to night.

“It’s her passion so you have to follow your passion as far as I am concerned,” she said.

Those who make it through to perform in front of the judges, including Simon Cowell, will feature in a new series of the show being broadcast later this year.

Gus Matheus, 20, and Jacob Koopman, 23, became a double act after both auditioning as solo artists at the Dublin auditions last month.

Jacob, who is originally from Holland, and Gus, who was born in Venezuela, make a living as professional buskers in the Irish capital.

They enjoyed their day in Belfast and sang All Of Me by John Legend and Rihanna’s Four Five Seconds to the camera in the audition booth.

Jacob said: “I got through in Dublin but Gus didn’t so I thought he would have a better chance in a group, but we like playing together anyway.”

Speaking after the audition, Gus said their work wasn’t quite done.

“We’re going to do some busking in Belfast to get our bus fare back to Dublin,” he said.

Jacob added: “It’s quite expensive travelling from Dublin to Belfast but hopefully it will have been worth the trip.”