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Simon Cowell has been searching for a new boy band to replicate the success of One Direction, but he has unfortunately faced a humbling start as a crowd of "no more than 40" reportedly showed up to an audition for his Netflix show.

Auditions for Netflix's The Midas Touch began in Liverpool's Albert Dock, but unfortunately the call for new talent didn't spark the never-ending queues Cowell drew in during his X Factor days.

Cowell, 64, recently informed fans he was on the hunt for a new boy band, with the music mogul hoping to find the next One Direction following the band's immense success after they took part in The X Factor back in 2010.

However, a startlingly small gathering showed up for the first round of auditions over the weekend, according to The Sun.

One source told the publication: "They started arriving slowly from about 9am on Saturday but the biggest number in the queue never amounted to more than about 40.

"By early afternoon, the number arriving had virtually dried up and it was the same story on the Sunday audition."

They continued: "The amount of railings they put up suggested they were expecting hundreds or thousands of people to arrive and pack out the queues but they had a fraction of those kinds of numbers."

Pictures circulating online show a strikingly small gathering of people standing together as a railing snakes around an otherwise empty tent.

The awkward update comes as the latest blow to Cowell's search, with his initial auditions in Gateshead recently cancelled by the television personality.

According to The Mirror, the former X Factor judge confessed the new show wouldn't include a built-in record deal, so candidates would need to attract a label's interest through their talent alone.

In attempts to draw in talented musicians, billboards of Cowell's face with a caption reading: "Simon needs you. Future megastars wanted for new boyband. No timewasters" have been put up in various locations.

While The X Factor has been off screens since 2018, Cowell still fronts Britain's Got Talent as a judge in his continued search for the next big thing.

The series launched in 2007 and has seen several changes since then, with the most recent to hit headlines surrounding the reported exit of fellow judge Bruno Tonioli.

The former Strictly Come Dancing judge has found himself at the centre of speculation he has been "axed" from Britain's Got Talent after just two series.

However, neither ITV nor Britain's Got Talent has confirmed the news, but reports continue to swirl that bosses are already eyeing up a replacement for the 68-year-old.

Tonioli was brought onto the show to replace former judge and comedian David Walliams. Despite proving to be a major hit with viewers, the rumours he had been dropped from the show started following the most recent series earlier this year.

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One source reportedly told The Sun that a new recording schedule could be behind the departure.

The insider alleged: "Once it became clear auditions were starting in October, as opposed to January as per the previous 17 series, it became clear Bruno may not be able to take part.

"He's committed to the US, but the new format for BGT is non-negotiable because the show will effectively be replacing Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.

"Alan Carr is a name that has been mooted - his chemistry with Amanda is already a winning formula - and he would bring a fantastic comic edge to the panel."

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