X FACTOR finalists hit the right note with TV and music fans when they took to the stage at Newcastle Arena.
A sea of camera phones swayed in time to the performers as they belted out hits from the ITV talent show, with a backing track of near- continuous screaming provided by younger members of the audience.
Sadly, Irish singing sensation Mary Burne was missing from the Newcastle line-up, but this certainly didn’t stop the others from putting on a song and dance spectacular that had even the most cynical tapping their feet.
Indeed, the whole set made you feel as if you were part of the television series – from the dramatic opening theme tune, complete with voice-over – to firework displays, glitter releases from the roof and video footage of each singer.
Rather unexpectedly, it was Wagner - the butt of many an X Factor joke – who put in one of the best performances of the night. There is no denying his singing is, well, tuneless, but his cheeky stage presence makes him a mesmerising showman.
Katie Waissel, last year’s media “villainess” of the X Factor, also received a warm reception.
Last year’s runner-up, Liverpool singer Rebecca Ferguson, gave an incredible performance. Her unique and powerful voice stunned the crowd into silence as her breathtaking power ballads filled the arena with musical magic.
Teen finalists Cher Loyd, Aiden Grimshaw and Paije Richardson also put in faultless performances as, flanked by skilled dancers, they strutted their stuff to an explosion of applause. Indeed, Cher’s stripped-down version of Shakespeare’s Sister’s Stay was a show-stopper.
X Factor winner Matt Cardle – a personal favourite of mine – enjoyed headline billing, bringing tears to the eyes of many with his rendition of The First Time and a cover of Biffy Clyro’s ballad Many Of Horror.
But for me, and many others, it was One Direction who stole the show.
Screams filled the arena as video footage of the band heralded their much-anticipated arrival on stage. The screams continued as the boys sang and danced their way through several complicated numbers – and were still ringing in my ears as I left the venue.
One Direction may not have won the X Factor show, but they were certainly the winners of the X Factor tour. The only direction for One Direction now seems to be straight to the top of the charts.