Joe McElderry

The Alhambra

JOE McElderry is high on my list of "lovely people I've interviewed". I have spoken to him several times, and he's always a delight.

I've seen him in panto, musicals and now in his solo show, and he's the ultimate professional on stage - but there's a spontaneous, and genuine, warmth that endears him to fans.

Last night Joe was at the Alhambra with his Saturday Night at the Movies show and boy did he work the crowd - sending out a nod, a wink and a cheeky grin to his devoted fans, from the stalls upwards. And the audience loved it, leaping to their feet at the end of songs throughout the show. By the end, with Joe and his guests reprising their opening number, Daydream Believer, the packed audience was on its collective feet.

This was a slick show, packing in pop and musical theatre favourites at a cracking pace, and Joe made a point of chatting between songs, chucking in the odd gag and reflecting fondly on his time spent in Bradford when he was in the Alhambra panto a couple of years ago.

From rousing performances of his X Factor song The Climb and Top 5 hit Gloria and movie ballads I Don't Want To Miss A Thing and Show Me Heaven, to uptempo numbers such as Saturday Night at the Movies, Joe showcased his flawless voice. It wasn't just pop - he reminded us of his impressive classical range with a moving performance of Time To Say Goodbye, which had audience members (including this one) dabbing their eyes.

Joe was joined on stage by Ben James-Ellis and Keith Jack, both finalists on BBC1's Any Dream Will Do, and former X Factor finalist Sam Callaghan, and together they delivered a cracking set. The boys worked well together, teasing each other with smooth 'Rat Pack' style banter, and they performed impressive group and solo numbers, bringing a variety of singing styles to the show.

Keith Jack is the kind of charismatic performer your eyes are drawn to on stage; he's a great mover with a smooth voice, showcased beautifully in a spine-tingling performance of Bring Him Home.

I was impressed with Ben James-Ellis as the 'Elvis Pharaoh' in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Alhambra earlier this year (with Joe in the title role) and he showed off his neat hip-swivelling moves again last night with a cracking performance of Burning Love.

A highlight was Sam Callaghan's powerful rendition of Purple Rain. The Prince epic is a tough act to pull off, but Sam did it proud. He's one to watch.

The boys joined Joe for a series of lively numbers, including a 'Joseph medley' comprising Close Ev'ry Door and Any Dream Will Do, accompanied by a lovely choir of children sitting a couple of rows behind us.

Joe's strength is that, not only is he an accomplished singer, he's a people's performer too. The crowd loved him, and he made us feel part of the show. And for a full two hours he had an audience of varying ages, from youngsters to grandparents, in the palm of his hand.

A class act.