London, Apr 12 (ANI): British TV producer Simon Cowell and Girls Aloud star Cheryl Cole were among the targets of the Manchester terror plot.
Security sources say terrorists wanted to strike at packed X Factor auditions in the city next weekend, the Daily Star reported.
The hugely popular event will see thousands of young - and old - wannabes trying to impress show chiefs. And as many as 100,000 potential pop stars will pack Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium.
The whole audition process running over two days will be filmed by ITV1 crews, so that any attack could be captured on film.
And intelligence sources say that the scale and potential exposure of the event made the auditions a "prime target".
Last night, 11 of 12 suspects arrested during raids were still being quizzed by anti-terror police. The 12th - an 18-year-old - was released into the custody of the UK Borders Agency, who will now investigate his immigration status.
A source told the Daily Star: "With the vast numbers of people involved in auditions they are an extremely high-risk target. Our information led us to believe that terrorists weren't plotting small-scale attacks - they intended one that would cause mass carnage."
The level of security at the auditions is believed to be another factor behind the intelligence chiefs' fears. Sources say security at X Factor events is "relatively light" compared to football matches.
Last year radical Islamist preacher Omar Bakri claimed the show is "anti-Muslim" and said that simply watching the hit series is a "form of hatred". (ANI)