FOR most, standing in front of Simon Cowell as he decides whether to send you to the X Factor final would be the ultimate in showbiz pressure.

But for Lauren Platt, who finished fourth on the singing show as a 17-year-old, the thought of her pantomime-enthusiast family and friends watching her on stage is just as daunting.

Lauren was just 16 when she auditioned for the X Factor back in 2014, turning 17 before becoming the youngest ever contestant to reach the live shows – just missing out on a place in the grand final.

Undeterred, she took her talents to YouTube, gaining a huge following for her singing and vlogging before landing a job presenting ‘Got What It Takes?’ on CBBC.

Now 21, panto fanatic Lauren is gearing up for a starring role in the Easter production of Beauty and the Beast – set to hit Northwich Memorial Court on March 29 and 30 as part of a nationwide tour.

“To be honest, I have never really considered doing panto, just for no other reason that I had never thought of it,” Lauren explained.

“I have always gone to see it and it’s a religious family thing. We go as a family – and I’m talking extended family – and book up the first five rows each year.

“Even sat in the audience, I never thought I could actually get up and do it.”

But when – following a part in a smaller Christmas production – she spotted an email asking whether she was available for an Easter tour, it was an easy decision to make for the Essex-born performer.

She said: “I just love to get out and about working, so the fact that it’s a tour is a real bonus for me.

“I used to work a lot in Manchester, when I hosted ‘Got What It Takes?’ a lot of it was filmed up there. I love it around there, it’s a really great place.

“The tour is all over the place. I naively thought what would happen was that we would start very far away and make our way back.

“I go far away and come really close to home, and then we’re away again.

“Weirdly, there is nothing I love more than travelling around on my own. I am hoping I can drive myself – I love putting on whatever music I want things like that.”

Lauren will line up alongside a cast including Kerry Katona, Tricia Penrose and Ryan Greaves, but there is one co-star who has already been in touch to discuss the production.

“I have spoken to Basil Brush – he messaged me on Facebook, so we have had a little chat about everything,” she said.

“I am really looking forward to working with Kerry Katona. I have briefly met her once before and she was so lovely. My mum is a big fan too.”

As well as being huge panto fans, Lauren’s parents have been a support network ever since she was thrust into the spotlight as a teenager.

“I didn’t think it at the time, because at 16 you know what’s best and are always right about everything,” she explained.

“I was quite lucky because my parents have been always heavily involved and having them there throughout the time I was on there was a great help.

“Then when I went on [the X Factor] tour they were always at the end of the phone or a quick visit. They would come to watch, but life carried on back at home for them.

“My closest show on the panto tour is Clacton, which is on my dad’s birthday so hopefully that’s one all my family will come to.”

In the show itself, Belle lives a quiet provincial life in the village of Ooh La La until her father accidentally stumbles across a terrifying Beast and she is taken captive.

Now it is up to Atomic Fairy, the village idiot Wally and his mother Dame Dolly to pit their wits against the evil Enchantress and rescue Belle from the Beast.

Memorial Court shows take place on Friday, March 29 at 7pm, and on Saturday, March 30 at 11am and 3pm.

Adult tickets are £17, or £14 for children and concessions, available from