Elation at X Factor auditions in Auckland yesterday was cruelly dashed by a car thief.

Kyle Hoggen, 16, of West Auckland, who spent a year working towards yesterday's tryouts, was stranded after his car was taken.

He spent eight hours at auditions in Western Springs with his dad Carl, mother Amanda and brother Jake.

"We walked down the road. And me and my dad started walking wider and wider and looking and looking."


It soon became clear the car had been stolen. It is a greenish-blue Ford Laser station wagon, registration SX7442, with black bumpers.

Family friend Nick Leack said the Hoggens moved to New Zealand seven years ago to escape Liverpool's crime.

Kyle chose a song by Kiwi artist and show judge Daniel Bedingfield, Gotta Get Through This, for his audition and has a nervous wait for a call from producers to return.

As predicted in Spy last week, former All Saints pin-up Melanie Blatt will join Kiwi singers Ruby Frost, Bedingfield and Stan Walker as a judge.

"It is my job to rein them in and make sure they are not too harsh on the contestants," said host Dominic Bowden.

Auckland rocker Franko Heke was in a confident mood when he belted out Hard to Handle by the Black Crowes. "I'm gonna win it," he said.

An ambulance was on standby after former Wellington man Edward Andrews, 33, died while preparing to audition for the Australian X Factor in Sydney on January 25. John Weekes