X Factor star Rylan Clark spices up Shrewsbury Buttermarket gig
[gallery] X Factor star Rylan Clark wowed crowds of screaming fans with covers of classic tracks and some stellar dance moves at a gig in Shropshire.
The Essex boy's appearance at The Buttermarket in Shrewsbury almost took the roof off so loud were the cheers and screams from the clubbers – proving that whatever the critics say, he definitely has the X Factor.
And such was his stage presence that he had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the off.
He had toned down his more extreme fashion sense, dressed in striking yet smart black and with his now trademark pencil thin moustache and beard.
But he was very much the same Rylan that won the hearts of fellow contestants in this year's show, the audience and gradually the judges – in the end even Gary Barlow.
Bubbling over with enthusiasm, he grabbed a Santa hat and launched into a Supremes medley, covering the small Buttermarket stage with ease as he danced, sang, laughed and joked his way through his half-hour appearance.
"Let me get his right," he said to the crowd. "You have paid to come here to see me tonight and I have been paid to come here to see you. Happy Christmas!"
He brought his act right up to date with a 'mash up' of Groove Is in the House and Gangam Style getting the crowds to sing along to almost every word.
And he finished his slick, professional set with a medley of Spice Girls' songs.
"The Spice Girls changed my life," he said.
He also met with fans after the gig. There was a special birthday hug for Sharon Jones from Shrewsbury after she told him not to let the fame go to his head.
"He promised me he wouldn't," she said.
Leighann Roberts from Shrewsbury said: "Rylan started off as the real underdog but I liked him from the start. He's great."
Rylan's appearance is the first of five gigs featuring stars from this year's X Factor at The Buttermarket in Howard Street. Four-piece boy band Union J will perform at the club on Thursday and the show's winner James Arthur will be on stage on Saturday.
Runner-up Jahmene Douglas will sing at the venue on Sunday, while Ella Henderson will perform on January 5.
I had been one of those won over by Rylan over the weeks of this year's X Factor after seeing how popular he was with his peers and how hard he worked to improve.
During his time on the ITV talent show Rylan had a number of run-ins with Take That star Barlow, responding to criticism from the judge with comments about the Rule the World and Patience star's weight.
I arrived at the Buttermarket scared that he wouldn't be able to pull off a live performance without the trappings of the television stage production behind him.
How wrong I was. His voice was strong and shone through his whole performance.
And yes, Rylan is cheesy but he is also great fun and had the utmost patience during his meet and greet with the VIP guests.
And, after a brief interview as he left the Buttermarket, Rylan won me over with his charm and his Essex patter.
"Ah thanks babe, great to meet you babe and you have a great Christmas," he enthused.
I am not sure what it is, but for me, he has the X Factor.
By Sue Austin
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