Acclaimed West End and Broadway star Alexander Hanson has played the role of Simon Cowell in a workshop to try out material for the X Factor musical, his agent has confirmed.
The actor - who is married to Samantha Bond - performed for the X Factor judge on 25 January and now emerges as the frontrunner to win the leading role in the hotly-anticipated production.
The 51-year-old has played a string of high-profile stage roles during his career, including Captain Von Trapp opposite How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? winner Connie Fisher in the West End revival of A Sound of Music. He also originated the role of Khashoggi in long-running Queen production We Will Rock You.
After years of rumours surrounding the possibility of a musical production of The X Factor, Cowell confirmed his approval following January's workshop, tweeting:
Judging by the music mogul's enthusiastic endorsement of his performance, it looks like Hanson is in pole position to pull on his high-waisted trousers, bleach his teeth and take Cowell's seat on the judging panel...