DESPITE chart-topping singer Tinchy Stryder cancelling at the eleventh hour, thousands of people flocked to St John’s Square to see Blackpool’s Christmas lights being switched on.
The R&B star was forced to pull out of the concert due to a bout of laryngitis – but X Factor 2011 contestant Jonjo Kerr saved the day and stepped in to add festive sparkle around the resort.
Tynchy told fans online he had worn his voice out during the Children In Need concert the night before:
He added: “My voice is killing me. I was told to rest it but I strained through the CiN performance and now its going, going, gone.”
But a delighted Jonjo said: “I’m really honoured to be turning the lights on. It’s really exciting. It’s been surreal – I went from being at work to being on television and doing things like this.”
Crowds had begun to gather from around lunchtime on Saturday for the special concert which was organised by VisitBlackpool and Rock FM.
The town was transformed into a winter wonderland with a glistening 40ft Christmas tree and families dancing around as snow fell down on them.
Teenagers went crazy for The Reason – who starred in last year’s X Factor – after they were called in to perform at the last minute.
Former Neighbours star Sam Clark, who played guitar during his set, said: “I’m spending a lot of time in Blackpool at the moment, I’ve got great fans here.”
Local singing sensations 18-year-old Steph Fraser, from Cleveleys, and 15-year-old Nancy Petulengro, from South Shore, as well as dance group FY Westcoast received roars of applause.
Natalie Wyatt, head of VisitBlackpool, said: “It’s unfortunate Tinchy Stryder couldn’t be here, but you can’t foresee an illness. We informed the crowd and they stayed. I heard lots of cheers for Jonjo Kerr.”