Living the dream – Jarrow singer wins Metro Radio Christmas Live opening slot

THE dream of singing on a big stage is coming true for teenager Abi Garrido.

The 17-year-old, of Jarrow, came out on top at Metro Radio’s Big Audition.

Winning the contest means she’ll open the show at Metro Radio Christmas Live this year, alongside chart-topping acts like Ed Sheeran, who performed last year.

The gig is at Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena on December 7.

Abi, who was crowned the Gazette’s Young Performer of the Year in 2012, said: “It doesn’t feel real yet, it’s just going to be absolutely amazing.

“I didn’t know what to say when the judges asked, ‘how do you feel?’ I didn’t have any words. It’s just fantastic, I didn’t expect it at all.”

Abi is following in the footsteps of fellow South Tynesiders, The Waiters, who won the contest last year.

The four-piece band, from South Shields, were also crowned Young Performers of the Year, the year after Abi in 2013.

As part of the contest, participants had to raise as much money as they could for Metro Radio’s charity, Cash For Kids, which helps disadvantaged children in the North East.

Abi raised a staggering £1,800 in just two weeks.

ARENA DREAM ... Jarrow's Abi Garrido is set to open Metro Radio Christmas Live at the Metro Radio Arena, in Newcastle.

ARENA DREAM ... Jarrow's Abi Garrido is set to open Metro Radio Christmas Live at the Metro Radio Arena, in Newcastle.

Her performances of Sam Smith’s I’m Not The Only One and James Bay’s Hold Back The River saw her crowned winner, with judges saying she was “blessed with her voice” and “the perfect act to open the arena show”.

Abi, who made it to the judges’ houses stage of The X Factor last year after being put in a girl band, has since decided to go back to pursuing her solo career.

She will now perform in front of 10,000 people at the Arena.

She added: “It’s just mad, it’s going to be so exciting watching everyone look at me and hear me sing. I just can’t believe it, it’s absolutely amazing.

“I don’t think it’ll feel real on the night. It’s just going to be crazy.

“I entered at the last minute and didn’t expect anything of it and now I’ve won, it’s just crazy.”

South Shields singer Chelsea Wood, 26, also made the final.

Tickets for Metro Radio Christmas Live cost from £25. To book, go to www.metroradioarena.co.uk

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki