South Shields singing star Joe McElderry says he can’t wait to get back on stage in his hometown.
The 24-year-old is headlining this Sunday’s South Tyneside Festival concert in Bents Park, Sea Road.
The X Factor and Popstar to Operastar champ will be joined on stage by East Boldon’s Lola Saunders, who made it to the finals of last year’s X Factor, and Britain’s Got Talent winners Collabro, which includes Washington lad Jamie Lambert.
The North East stars will also be joined by South Shields girl Eve Simpson, 16, who was named Young Performer of the Year at this year’s Best of South Tyneside Awards.
This will be the third time that Joe, who also came out on top on reality show The Jump, has performed at the seaside venue.
He first played to a bumper crowd in 2011, two years after winning the X Factor, and returned in 2013 for the first ever Sound Waves concert.
He said: “I think it’s going to be a great atmosphere on Sunday. The people of the North East and South Shields are the reason why we’re all doing what we’re doing so it’ll be a real celebration of that.
“If the last two times I’ve played Bents Park are anything to go by, it’s going to be a brilliant audience.
“I’m really looking forward to sharing the stage with Lola and Collabro because it’s quite a rare thing to be able to do something like this.
“This gig is going to be a real celebration of the North East and it’ll be great to share a stage with them both.”
For his previous Bents Park appearances, Joe’s fans have travelled from as far as America to see him.
He said: “From what I’ve heard there are a few people travelling from down south and a couple from Ireland. They always travel all over the place to see my shows and it feels great to have that support.
“It’s great getting to travel around but playing in your hometown is always special. I’m bringing my tour show to Bents Park and there will be lots of songs that people recognise from my albums and the X Factor, so hopefully even if it’s raining I’ll be able to get people dancing and help them forget about it.”
Joe is set to start rehearsals for The Who’s rock opera Tommy in two weeks. He’s playing the lead role at the Blackpool Winter Gardens from September 12 to 16.
I think it’s going to be a great atmosphere on Sunday. The people of the North East and South Shields are the reason why we’re all doing what we’re doing so it’ll be a real celebration of that.Joe McElderry
He’s also announced his third pantomime role.
He’ll be starring as the Spirit of the Mirror in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Hull New Theatre from December 8 to January 3, next year.
Joe played the same role in the panto last year when it ran at the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford.
The year before that, he was Prince Charming in Cinderella at the Becks Theatre in Hayes, Middlesex.
He said: “It’s such a brilliant show and this is a completely new version of it, I’m doing it this time with Cannon and Ball.
“I absolutely loved it last year, I had so much fun and I really can’t wait to get back and do it again.
“This is my third panto and I do get a bit nervous at the beginning of each run because every place is different and you don’t know what to expect, but it’s just always so much fun. Every day is like Christmas and it’s so exciting.
“Every time I’ve finished a run of panto I’ve been dying to do it again and I really enjoy it so I’ll keep doing it as long as I feel that way.”
Gates for Sunday’s concert open at 1pm. Entry is free.