South Tyneside singing sensation Joe McElderry called into surprise pupils at his former school as he returned to the region to star in a well-known musical.
The 26-year-old who shot to fame when he took the X-Factor’s winner’s crown in 2009 is taking on the lead role in Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dream coat.
Before the show takes to the stage of the Metro Arena tomorrow, he made a surprise appearance at his old school Harton Academy in Lisle Road, South Shields.
Pupils were in the middle of rehearsals for their own annual Christmas concert which takes place tomorrow when Joe made his entrance.
The singer, who is receiving rave reviews for his performances as Joseph, sang Last Christmas helping pupils get into the festive spirit.
Joe said: “I have so many amazing memories here, obviously of the Christmas concerts and all the different things.
“It’s really special to be back, it’s a wonderful school, it was when I was here and it’s obviously progressed to be even better.
“To see so many young kids up performing in front of their peers is a huge thing at that age.
“I always find that really special see people have the guts and talent to stand up and perform infront of their friends.”
He added that while he is a “little nervous” he is looking forward to performing on stage in front of a home crowd.
Ahead of leaving for his own rehearsals ahead of the show, Joe was invited to watch a little of what was in store for those who will be at the concert tomorrow night - including the school’s newest rising star James Bassett.
The 14-year-old, who has appeared on ITV’s Little Big Shots, will be playing his trademark Ukulele in the concert.
James said: “It was grate seeing Joe McElderry on stage, as he is one of my idols as a singer from Shields, him and Jade (from Little Mix) and to perform on the same stage as him is a real honour.
“It was quite a shock to everyone when Joe came in as I think people probable thought it was just one of those assemblies where you come in and listen to the concert for an hour.
“He sang Last Christmas which I thought was really good and the fact he had never sang it before with our music it was great how he was able to adapt.”
Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat runs from December 19 to 31.