FORMER Young Performer of the Year Joe McElderry is urging other talented people in South Tyneside to bid for the award this year.
The 23-year-old earned the accolade at the Best of South Tyneside awards in 2008.
A year later, he went on to win the X Factor, and has since released four studio albums, starred in two pantomimes, appeared on stage in London’s West End and performed all over the world.
The singer also came out on top on reality shows Popstar to Operastar and The Jump.
Joe, who was nominated for the prize by his mum, Eileen, had been singing for just 18 months at the time, but says being part of the awards gave him the confidence to pursue a singing career.
Joe, of Westoe, South Shields, said: “Young Performer of the Year is a great award and I loved being a part of it years ago.
I would go as far as saying it really brought out my confidence and gave me that drive to push forward to getting a career in singing.Joe McElderry
“I would go as far as saying it really brought out my confidence and gave me that drive to push forward to getting a career in singing.
“Don’t be scared to apply, go for it and you never know what might happen.”
Young Performer of the Year aims to showcase the shining talent in South Tyneside.
It is open to those aged 21 and under and with any talent, whether it’s singing, dancing, juggling, telling jokes, or anything else you can do to impress a live audience.
Those nominated will perform at the Customs House in Mill Dam, South Shields, on Monday, April 27.
Three contestants will be shortlisted and perform again at the Best of South Tyneside awards night at the Quality Hotel, in Boldon, on Thursday, June 12.
Previous winners of the contest also includes Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall.
The 22-year-old, of Laygate, South Shields, took the crown in 2010, and just like Joe, went on to win the X Factor one year later as part of girlgroup Little Mix.
Susan Wear, director of corporate affairs at Port of Tyne, which sponsors the award, said: “The Port of Tyne has supported the awards since the very beginning and we are always amazed by the remarkable performances and the talent that South Tyneside has within its community.”
To nominate someone, fill in a form online HERE.