THE region’s latest X Factor hopeful will take to the stage tonight to perform in front of millions of viewers.
Twenty-four-year-old James Arthur, from Saltburn, east Cleveland, won through to the final 12 acts in the ITV show last week, and is the latest in a long line of stars from the North-East and North Yorkshire to succeed on national television talent shows.
His older sister, Sian, told The Northern Echo yesterday how tears had streamed down her face when she watched him make it through to the final stages.
Miss Arthur, 25, said the pair used to make up songs together when they were children and all the memories came flooding back.
She is heading to London with her father, Neil, sister Charlotte and stepmother Jacqueline to watch the live shows this weekend.
“I always knew he would be famous,”
“It all became very real when they showed the final 12 singing Emeli Sande’s Read All About It on Sunday’s show.
“I was sat there with tears streaming down my face. That’s when it sank in that my brother was going to be a superstar.”
Miss Arthur said that family and friends have been distributing posters in Redcar, Marske and Saltburn to drum up support.
“I just can’t wait to give him a big hug and tell him how proud of him I am,” she said. “He has an incredible talent and has worked so hard to get where he is now.”
Miss Arthur said her brother is 100 per cent focused on doing his best in the live shows, and has settled into his new accommodation in London.
She added: “The entire family really appreciate the support from across the region. It’s so lovely that the North-East are getting behind him.”
Cheryl Cole is the biggest North-East star to emerge from hit TV talent shows and she mentored fellow Tynesider Joe McElderry, who won the sixth series of X Factor in 2009.
Last year, Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall, from South Shields, South Tyneside, were members of winning group Little Mix and Nunthorpe teenager Amelia Lily came third. She is now enjoying a pop career.