X Factor winner Joe McElderry was back in his home region last night to star at the Sunderland Empire.
The singer put in a special performance of Dirty Dancing’s famous finale track, Time of My Life, to rapturous applause.
The musical version of the hit 1987 film is running at the High Street West venue until October 6 and Joe was asked to join the cast on stage to help raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust, of which he is an ambassador.
South Shields-born Joe, 21, said: “I know all the songs and I did a lot of Dirty Dancing at performing arts college but I must be one of the only people in the world not to have seen the film in full.
“It’s exciting to be on stage at the Empire. I’ve seen lots of pantos here when I was little and saw the King and I here a couple of years ago. The Sunderland audience are fabulous as always.
“There’s nothing like performing at home.”
Last night’s gala performance saw Joe perform Time of My Life as the regular cast whipped up a storm with their dance moves.
There will be bucket collections before and after each show during the week, with all proceeds going towards supporting teenagers and young adults diagnosed with cancer across the UK.
Speaking about his involvement with the charity, Joe said: “The show was planning to raise money for the charity this week and they wanted someone to represent the Teenage Cancer Trust at the show. I know the producer of the musical quite well and they suggested I come on at the end and sing. It’s a bit different to what I’m used to, as I’m normally on stage as myself.
“I’ve only been back in the North East for 42 hours but I’d love to get the chance to see the musical in full.”
He added: “Just after winning X Factor two years ago the Teenage Cancer Trust asked me to open their ward at the RVI in Newcastle. I was so inspired by the teenagers and how well they cope in an unimaginable situation.”
The charity builds specialist units in NHS hospitals that bring young people together to be treated by teenage cancer experts in a place designed just for them.
Dirty Dancing producer Karl Sydow said: “I have personally supported the Teenage Cancer Trust for a number of years and I’ve seen at first hand the difference the specialist units can make to the lives of young people affected by this disease.”