Simon Cowell to host Newcastle auditions in search for 'next One Direction'

Simon Cowell is going 'back to basics' with the audition process
-Credit: (Image: ITV)

Simon Cowell is on the hunt for a new boyband "as good as One Direction" - and the future music megastars could come from Newcastle, with auditions set to take place in the city next month.

The 64-year-old music mogul, best known as a judge on the likes of Pop Idol, The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent, has launched a UK-wide search for a new group to rival the success of Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne. The five were just teenagers when they shot to fame on the 2010 series of The X Factor, going on to become one of the biggest-selling boy groups of all time.

Now, 14 years on, Simon is "praying" he finds a group as talented as One Direction during auditions that are scheduled to take place in Newcastle on July 4 and 5, as well as in Liverpool on July 7 and 8, Dublin on July 28 and 29, and London on August 1, 2 and 3. Boyband hopefuls aged "around 16 to 18 years old" can apply for the chance to be invited to the auditions at

Auditions will be a little different to that which The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent fans are used to seeing as Simon goes "back to basics" with the process, featuring no big studio set or live audience, although the try-outs will be filmed for a potential future documentary series. Describing One Direction as "lightning in a bottle", Simon said he is hopeful that there are "gems out there waiting to be discovered" when it comes to UK singing talent.

He told the PA news agency: "I would pray to find a band as good as One Direction and to find the records as good as they made, there are so many factors involved to make a band successful all over the world. You can't fake this, even though I’m the one going out to do the auditions, it really depends on the individuals."

Explaining why he decided to launch the auditions, Simon added: "Bands never knock on your front door, it's never happened in my career, someone has to go out and put them together - and the truth is since One Direction there hasn't been a successful UK boyband. The only way to do it is do what I used to do, go out and do it and audition and do it face to face and don't have any pre-casting."

Saying there "has never been a better time to be in a band" for British music hopefuls, Simon slammed the recent decline in UK artists breaking internationally as "shocking". He also dismissed musicians attempting to find fame on TikTok, saying: "I have no interest in those people whatsoever.

"I'm only interested in people who want to show up and tell us why they want to do this. And if they can't be bothered to do this, then they're the wrong people to be in the band, because it's hard work being in a band."

He compared posting videos on TikTok to "buying a lottery ticket" due to the millions of users on the social media platform vying for attention. "Posting videos in your bedroom, it's not enough - and I'm trying to prove a point here that to succeed in the music business, you've got to get up, you've got to turn up, you've got to show up," he insisted.

Simon will be joined for the auditions by members of his record label and TV company who he believes "genuinely made a difference in One Direction's career", and the search will be filmed by Box To Box Films, the company behind Formula 1: Drive To Survive. To be in with a chance of being invited to auditions, hopefuls will need to submit two videos of themselves singing acapella as part of the initial application - visit to apply.