X-Factor, Sheffield Arena - REVIEW AND PICTURES

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THOUSANDS of X-cited fans lifted the roof at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena when the X Factor tour rolled into town.

PHOTOS: Press the play button to see our slideshow of photographs from the concert - taken by Glenn Ashley.

X Factor stars perform at the Arena

X Factor stars perform at the Arena

An explosion of fireworks at the start of the show set the scene for a two-hour spectacular where fans were warned to prepare for the night of their lives - and the hype didn’t disappoint.

Kicking off the show was 17-year-old rapper Cher Lloyd who opened with her version of Get Your Freak On mixed with The Clapping Song and held her own fronting up a troupe of energetic backing dancers performing a perfectly choreographed street-dance-type routine.

It could have been billed ‘The Cher Show’ last night, with the popular teen popstar performing a total of four tracks - three high-temp numbers including Boom Shake The Room and Hey You (Girlriend) - but also her own haunting rendition of Shakespears Sister’s Stay, which showcased her all round appeal.

X Factor winner Matt Cardle, who won last year’s title after fighting off competition from thousands of wannabe popstars, entered the stage to deafening applause and kicked off his set with his cover of Katy Perry’s Firework.

For his next number he slowed it down and had the crowd swaying along as he performed Nights in White Satin while stood in front of an impressive pyrotechnic waterfall.

The next trick to wow the fans involved the former painter and decorator walking across a bridge above his fan’s heads to get to a smaller central stage in the middle of the Arena.

While singing Just The Way You Are he played up to his adoring fans by blowing them kisses and waving as he lapped up the adulation before belting out The First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face), which wowed over viewers the first time he performed the number on the X Factor TV show when he was fighting for a recording contract last year.

To finish off he performed his Christmas number one hit single When We Collide while elevated on a platform in the centre of the venue.

Another spectacle laid on to impress the fans involved runner-up Rebecca Ferguson, who was transformed into a giant butterfly while elevated on a platform and attached to two giant wings spanning the entire width of the main stage.

She impressed with her versions of So Baby If You Want Me and Adele’s Make You Feel My Love for which she got a standing ovation.

But it was boyband One Direction, including Doncaster’s own Louis Tomlinson, which got the biggest applause and support of the night - with the atmosphere reaching fever pitch every time they stepped onto the stage.

They performed Only Girl in the World, Chasing Cars, Kids in America and Forever Young.

The Arena plays host to the X Factor tour again tonight.