Switch-On 2017: Diversity's Ashley Banjo: 'There's a lot of pressure!'

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Dance group Diversity are back in Blackpool for their second Switch-On show in as many years.

Speaking to The Gazette's entertainment reporter Anna Cryer backstage earlier, before they go on to entertain the crowds at around 8.30pm, choreographer for the Britain's Got Talent winners Ashley Banjo said: "It's great, lovely to be back.

"It kind of feels like we never left - I can't believe a whole year has gone by.

"When you do these performances, we make them bespoke, there's loads of new stuff, specially for the crowd as well as Diversity moments from through the years.

"Since last year's Switch-On, we've had a TV special and a new tour, so loads of our material is pretty new too - it'll be like a best bits from the year."

Keep up with our Illuminations Switch-On 2017 live blog here

Speaking about the Star Trek-themed Switch-On, which will come at the end of Diversity's set, Ashley added: "I wouldn't call myself a Star Trek fan - you know, a Trekkie - but I'm a big fan of the brand.

"There's a lot of pressure to make sure it goes right."

His brother, former I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here contestant Jordan Banjo said: "Being here last year, seeing how it all works, how the crowd reacts, it's a dream to come back and not just perform."

MTV host for the night Becca Dudley said: "It's been a really good night so far.

"It's my first time in Blackpool, so I've only had a very small look around between the station and the arena.

"I had no idea the beach was so beautiful. I don't know why, I thought it was pebbles, but it's nice and sandy.

"The crowd are wild. I started at 4 o'clock with the local acts, and even then with a small crowd, they got so much love, they're really supportive.

"Now it's filled up, everyone's really excited."

Rewire and Varski, aka Cam and Rav, spoke to The Gazette straight after their set.

"The place was pretty much full already, I was expecting it to be empty as it was fairly early on, with just some mums and dads, but everyone's out in force," Cam said.

"I always say, religiously, there's no place liken the UK when the sun shines - no place like Blackpool even." said Rav. "You know the other thing Blackpool does best - whipped ice cream. I'm going over the road to get one as soon as my food gets here."

MC Neat, aka Michael Rose, who performed alongside DJ Luck earlier, said: "It's bigger than I thought it would be, I didn't expect this many people.

"We normally do the pier gigs and that's two or 3,000 people, so we got here and said 'Oh, hello! Where did they come from? when we looked out.

"And it's the first time we've been and the weather is nice.

"Usually it's blazing sunshine all the way here, then rain as soon as we get to Blackpool.

"We had to keep switching, putting something for the kids, get them jumping up and down, and then drop something for the mums and dads, and switching.

"It's a double sided gig, but we got there."

Say Something hitmaker Example, real name Elliot Gleave said: "I'm really excited to be here, since I was a little boy I have wanted to see the Lights turned on.

"I didn't realise how big the Tower was, it's massive."

Rushing in to town, after a six-hour motorway battle through traffic to make the event, he added: "This is the quickest period of time I think I've ever had from getting out of the car to going on stage."

Conor Maynard had flown in from LA for tonight's show.

"I came on as a special guest at the end of the night last year, and nearly knocked over Barbara Windsor, so I'm trying to not cause any chaos this time.

"It's so much fun. The last time I've performed is a month ago, so I'm really pleased to be back on stage."