October 11, 2008

Take a Chance on Me Local Viewers Urged to Vote for Eoghan and Christine

By Maureen Coleman

Northern Irish television viewers were today urged to get voting as two local talents prepared to put on the performances of their lives.

Pubs in Dungiven are expected to be packed out with punters tonight, cheering on schoolboy Eoghan Quigg in his first live outing on the X Factor.

The 14-year-old is one of 12 finalists who will get the chance to sing live on the ITV show tonight in a bid to win over the judges and the voting public.

And on BBC1, Newtownards girl Christine Bleakley will be stepping out with her dance partner Matthew Cutler to perform a quick-step in the hope of making it through to the next round of the competition.

Tens of thousands of viewers across the province are expected to stay indoors tonight to watch the two prime-time shows, which are battling it out to be crowned king of Saturday night TV.

Anne Sands, Principal of St Patrick's School in Dungiven, where Eoghan is a pupil, said the mood in the town had reached fever pitch.

"We ordered 1,000 Vote for Eoghan posters to send out to every primary and secondary school in Northern Ireland, but there was such a huge demand, we had to order a second batch," she said.

"We've got car flags as well and people asking if they can buy posters of him. It's unbelievable. It's been all hands on board this week as we tried to get the posters out, teachers, classroom assistants, secretaries, even the pupils were helping out.

"Eoghan is a popular lad in the school and we're all so proud of him. He has really put this town and our school on the map."

Mrs Sands said she was confident the teenager would go far in the competition.

"As long as he stays himself, he'll do well," she said.

"Everyone loves Eoghan. He's an exceptional talent."

In Newtownards, where the Bleakley family is well known, posters are also going up all over the town, asking everyone to vote for the One Show presenter.

Her sister Nicola, who has been canvassing support for the "elegant" dancer all over Co Down, said she hoped people would vote in her favour.

"She's flying the flag for Northern Ireland and is doing herself proud and we'd love it if everyone got behind her," she said.

"Christine absolutely loves being in the show and she doesn't want to leave and she is giving it her all.

"Although we miss her being away so much we're dying to see her stay on Strictly Come Dancing."

See Viewpoint, P20

Originally published by Maureen Coleman Showbiz Correspondent.

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