I’ve got a guilty secret. I am, I’m deeply ashamed to say, a closet fan of ITV’s the X-Factor.

Yes it’s naff. Yes it’s cruel. Yes it’s jammed packed with posturing, posing idiots, and yes it is, by and large watched by people with little or no musical taste.

It is, however, compelling viewing – a unique chance to assess the abilities (or otherwise) of the genuinely talented…or the plain bloomin' awful.

It’s with a keen sense of anticipation, then, that I let you know of the Watford’s very own version – Centre Stage at the Harlequin.

Singer/songwriters and bands alike are sought by the organisers to vie for the rather grandiose title of the best act in Hertfordshire.

Musicians of any style can submit demos online to www.harlequinbrandunion.com by 25 July.

Eight finalists will then be selected to play live in the centre on every Saturday in August.

The grand final will take place on Thursday, September 4 when all eight acts will compete head-to-head to win a day’s recording time and two rehearsal time at the Sanctuary Recording Studio, a feature on Mercury 96.6fm, £300 worth of Hooters’ vouchers, and, if that weren’t enough, a performance at The Harlequin's Christmas light switch on.

Interested? Then why not give it a crack?