.

Stars for virtual Lights Switch On revealed

The stars of Blackpool’s first ever virtual Illuminations Switch-On event have been revealed.

 

Spice Girl Melanie C, Fleur East, Becky Hill, Tom Grennan, Diversity and Blackpool’s very own Rae Morris will all perform in the hour-long streamed event which is being staged by MTV at 8.30pm on Friday 4 September.

The virtual show, which will be hosted by Diversity’s Ashley and Jordan Banjo, will also feature chart-topping DJ, Joel Corry.

It will be free to access on MTV and VisitBlackpool channels, and will feature a mixture of exclusive pre-recorded performances at home and live performances filmed inside the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, as well as the all-important Switch-On moment, details of which will follow over the coming weeks.

The Switch-On, which normally takes place on the Tower Festival Headland in front of a 20,000 strong audience, will act as the curtain-raiser for Blackpool’s Illuminations season which has been extended by two months and will now run from September 4 to January 3, 2021.

It will be the first time in more than 70 years that the resort has been unable to hold a live Switch-On celebration – but also the first time that a Switch-On event has been accessible to a national and international audience.

Melanie C is one of the most famous female pop stars on the planet. Last year, saw the Spice Girls’ blockbuster reunion tour with sell-out stadium concerts that served as a joyous reminder of the spell that 90s girl power still casts on pop.

2019 also saw Melanie travel around the globe, performing with the LGBTQ+ club collective, Sink The Pink, at Pride parades in Amsterdam, Santiago, London, Cologne, Berlin, Brighton, Belfast, Dublin and New York’s Times Square.

During the lockdown pandemic Melanie was seen DJ’ing from her home to a global audience using the power of IGTV and YouTube. 

On October 2, Melanie’s eighth studio album “MELANIE C” will be released featuring collaborations with Biff Stannard and Nadia Rose. The first and second singles from the album “Who I Am’ and “Blame It On Me” have already been huge airplay hits. 

Rae Morris, who will return to her home town to do a live performance on a closed set in the magnificent Tower Ballroom, said: “Being a part of the Illuminations Switch-On is a huge deal for me. It was always the highlight of my summer as a kid, a magical ending.

“This year will be slightly different, but an extended period of Illuminations on the seafront is a silver-lining that’ll bring much-needed joy!  I’ll be performing from inside the ballroom and will do my best to channel its spirit out into your devices!”

Becky Hill and Fleur East are no strangers to Illuminations Switch-On events, both have performed on the Tower Festival Headland stage in previous years.

Singer-songwriter Becky is one of Britain’s most in-demand musical exports and is the second most listened to female artist on Spotify in the UK, notching up over a billion streams and 18 million monthly listeners.

She has had a string of top 40 hits including this year’s top 20 solo record, “Better Off Without You” and current top 20 single “Heaven On My Mind”, as well as collaborating with a number of artists including Rudimental, Jonas Blue, Oliver Heldens and Sigala.

The multi-talented Fleur East first rose to fame as a powerhouse finalist on The X Factor, with explosive performances that even landed her a No.1 on iTunes with “Uptown Funk” before the song was even officially released. That was followed by her debut single, “Sax”, which stayed in the Top 10 for seven weeks and has gone on to hit over one 100 million streams on Spotify.

Fleur, who presents The Hits Radio national breakfast show every weekday, wrote and performed the coronavirus song, Not Alone, with all proceeds going to the NHS COVID-19 Appeal.

British singer-songwriter Tom Grennan’s first album, “Lighting Matches”, was one of the best-selling debut albums of 2018. He rose to fame through his first appearance as the guest vocalist on the Chase and Status track, “All Goes Wrong” and has this year released singles ‘This Is The Place’ & ‘Oh Please’ from his forthcoming album.

The show hosts, Diversity’s Ashley and Jordan Banjo, have been an integral part of the Illuminations Switch-On night for the past four years, wowing crowds with the extraordinary routines that have cemented their position as the UK’s most accomplished dance group for more than a decade.

Diversity will perform an exclusive routine produced especially for the virtual Switch-On event.

Ashley said: “Jordan and I are delighted to be hosting Blackpool’s virtual Switch-On.

“Blackpool is very much our second home and we cannot wait to return to the resort to host what will be an amazing experience that people will be able to watch, wherever they are.”

Diversity won Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 and have since completed nine sell-out arena tours, performed in front of The Queen and in 2021, will embark on their Connected Tour.

Joel Corry, who will provide the post Switch-On entertainment, broke on to the music scene last summer with his remake of UK Garage classic, “Sorry”, followed by the release of “Lonely” earlier this year which spent 11 weeks in the UK Top 10 and is currently the biggest-selling record by a UK artist this year.

Joel’s new single, “Head & Heart”, a collaboration with Grammy Award-winning singer songwriter MNEK, has just earned him his first ever UK #1 in only its third week on the chart.

The show will start at 8.30pm on Friday 4 September and can be viewed at: visitblackpool.com/switchonyoutube.com/mtvinternational and facebook.com/mtvmusicuk

Cllr Gillian Campbell, Cabinet Member for Tourism & Culture for Blackpool Council, said: “We are delighted to be able to announce an all-star line-up for what will definitely go down as the most unique Switch-On event in Illuminations history!

“Demand for tickets for our traditional live event hugely outweighs the number available, so it is great that everyone will get the opportunity to see this year’s Switch-On concert from the comfort of their homes.

“It promises to be a fabulous start to our extended Illuminations season.”

Virginia Monaghan, Vice President, Events and Experiences, ViacomCBS Networks International commented: “We are delighted that MTV will help launch the first live virtual Blackpool illuminations switch–on celebration. While we may not be able to go ahead with the event as originally planned, we are incredibly excited to now be able to bring this fantastic night of entertainment for audiences to enjoy at home!”

Go to www.visitblackpool.com/switchon for regular updates.

More from Local

Cover art for Please Don't Go

On Air

Mark Goodier playing Kc & The Sunshine Band - Please Don't Go