MILLIONS of viewers tuned in to see Ben Forster live to sing another day.
The Millfield 31-year-old is now in the final nine contenders in the running for the coveted role of Jesus in the ITV1 show Superstar.
The programme follows Andrew Lloyd Webber’s search to fill the lead role in the forthcoming tour of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Wearside is behind former Thornhill School pupil Ben in his quest to clinch the prize.
His family said they are so proud of him, and are thrilled at the level of support he has been getting.
Sister Abbey Lancaster, 37, said: “It has been absolutely amazing how many people are backing Ben. It is so exciting.
“He has worked so hard for this sort of break for the past 15 years. This is a role he has always wanted to play. It would be fantastic if he won.
“But he is just loving the whole experience and making sure he enjoys every minute of it.”
Abbey’s four sons, Oliver, nine, Charlie, seven, Alfie, six and five-year-old Tommy, are all thrilled about their uncle being on television.
Their schools, Diamond Hall Infants and Juniors, where Ben was a pupil, are backing the performer with posters and messages of support.
Abbey, who lives in Penshaw, said: “They are really getting behind him and so is everyone at Thornhill.
“We want as many people as possible to keep voting for him.”
Helping Lord Webber in his search on the judging panel is ex-Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm, actor and singer Jason Donovan, and comedian Dawn French. Theatre director David Grindrod was also involved during auditions.
The remaining potential superstars will continue to perform live throughout this week and into next week.
Ultimately the British public will decide who they want to be the next Jesus Christ Superstar.