Journalist Martin Bashir surprised the X Factor: Celebrity judges with an emotional performance dedicated to his late brother Tommy.

The broadcaster, who is best known for his high-profile TV interviews with Diana, Princess of Wales and Michael Jackson, performed Nat King Cole’s  L-O-V-E in his first audition for judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger during tonight’s opening show.

After he took to the stage in Los Angeles, Bashir, 56, spoke movingly of his brother, who died at the age of 29, and his  struggle with muscular dystrophy.

“When you grow up with a child and you fight over toys at four and he never fights back and then, by the time he is 13 he can’t feed himself, you feel that you have no excuse for turning down opportunities,” he said.

(Syco / Thames)

“Every time I have faced a challenge I have heard him whispering saying, ‘What excuse do you have? You have no excuse.’

“‘You have never sung but someone has come to you and said, ‘Give it a shot.’ And that is my motivation.”’

His audition was met with a standing ovation from the X Factor judges and Bashir’s fellow contestants, with Cowell telling him: “It is always about the person and the story and we related to your story.”

Ahead of his performance, the journalist joked that he had researched the producers who contacted him about appearing on the show in order to ascertain whether he was being scammed.

Speaking to Standard Online at the launch of The X Factor: Celebrity, he said: “After I realised that the person contacting me wasn’t a scam and I wasn’t being set up, I reflected on it and [saying yes to the show] happened fairly quickly.

“I didn’t feel it was an opportunity I could walk away from.”

​The X Factor: Celebrity continues on October 19 on ITV. 

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