IT may be a venue more used to jazz hands musicals, but last night chart-topper Alexandra Burke injected some diva glamour into the Sunderland Empire.
Think Beyonce mixed with Diana Ross and you get some impression of the vocal acrobatics the X Factor starlet used to raise the roof at the Edwardian theatre.
Few winners of the hit talent show have been able to sustain their own headline tours once the shine wears off their win, but Miss Burke always was a sparky contestant.
Last month, the runners-up to her 2008 X Factor win, JLS, appeared at the Newcastle Arena for their tour, so it seemed odd that pipping them to the post didn’t earn her the right to a bigger venue. She still belted out her hit singles with stadium-standard gusto though.
Her performance was high energy from the start as she busted out dance moves in a studded and shredded outfit alongside a quartet of muscly dancers.
Hit singles Start Without You, her third solo UK number 1, and rousing ode to girl power, Broken Heels, had the crowds on the feet.
I must admit, I wasn’t the pop princess’s biggest fan before last night – I’m one of the few people in the country not to watch the X Factor – but she even won me over.
But what Alexandra seems to have proved with her first tour is that she is more than just the product of a TV show: she’s a talent in her own right.
She worked the stage like a seasoned pro with a powerful voice that boomed around the theatre. Maybe that’s because of the baptism of fire that was singing live in front of millions of TV viewers every Saturday night, or maybe it’s because she simply has that X Factor.
Either way it made for a great show.
A swift costume change from her Gladiatorial opening outfit into a long white gown saw the singer launch into a more soulful section of the gig in which she performed debut single Hallelujah.
She then launched into a Destiny’s Child remix. “Remember me singing with Beyonce?” she shouted out to the crowd. They did, and they whooped along to Survivor and Independent Woman.
But this X Factor winner doesn’t need to rely on cover versions. The Brit nominee rounded off her 75-minute Empire debut with her own track Bad Boys which had the whole audience buzzing about Burke.